Mouth Cancer Action Month

Nov_blog_img_05

This November Maidstone Dental & Implant Centre are proud supporters of the Oral Health Foundation’s Mouth Cancer Action Month.

Currently mouth cancer is one of the few cancers experts predict will see an increase in diagnosis over the coming years. Mouth cancer is currently the 16th most common cancer in the UK, but still many people are unaware of the factors that put them at risk of developing the disease.

Mouth Cancer Risk Factors

Although mouth cancer can affect anybody, and is strongly associated with the age and gender of a person, around 91% of all diagnosis are linked to lifestyle factors. This means that by amending our lifestyle choices, we can cut the chances of developing mouth cancer.

Nov_blog_img_06

Smoking

  • Most mouth cancer cases continue to be linked to smoking tobacco.
  • Each cigarette transforms saliva so that it can damage cells in the mouth and can turn them cancerous.
  • Smoking increase your risk of developing mouth cancer by three times compared to non-smokers.
  • Smoking cigars and pipes increases this risk further.
  • Smokeless tobacco use can increase the risk of developing mouth cancer by 15 times.
  • By quitting smoking, you can help to reduce your risk of developing the disease by more than a third. Another great reason to kick the habit!

Nov_blog_img_07

Alcohol Consumption

  • One third of mouth cancer cases are linked to drinking alcohol to excess.
  • The key is excess! An occasional glass of wine is not a problem, drinking a bottle in an evening is.

Human Papillomavirus

  • The human papillomavirus (HPV) is estimated to overtake smoking as the number one cause of mouth cancer in the future.
  • HPV is very common and almost every sexually active person will get HPV at some time in their lives.
  • 90% of HPV infections go away by themselves
  • Sometime HPV infections can persist and cause abnormal tissue growth and other changes to cells, which can cause cancer.
  • Limiting the number of partners, you have and practising safe sex will help to reduce the risk.

Environmental factors

Environmental factors

  • Second-hand or environmental tobacco smoke can increase your risk of developing mouth cancer by 87%, even if you have never smoked yourself.
  • Poor diet can also be linked to more than half of cases. A diet rich in fruit and vegetables will not only keep your body fit and healthy, it will also help to reduce your risk of developing mouth cancer

More than 2,000 people lose their life to mouth cancer every year in the UK. It claims more lives than cervical and testicular cancer combined. The key to improving survival rates is early detection, with 90% of people surviving for more than five years if the cancer is detected early.

If in doubt, get it checked out!

If you are concerned about any changes you have noticed in your mouth do not hesitate to contact Maidstone Dental & Implant Centre on 01622 682 029 and book an appointment.

Bruxism: Are you harming your teeth while you sleep?

Bruxism 01

Have you been told that you grind your teeth in your sleep? Do you suffer from chronic headaches or jaw pain because you clench your teeth? If so, a custom night guard might be the answer.

What Is Bruxism?

Bruxism is the medical term for grinding or clenching your teeth and jaws. Grinding refers to moving the jaw back and forth. Clenching refers to biting down with excessive force for long periods of time. Bruxism is a common condition and normally occurs during sleep or times of stress. Most people do not even know that they grind their teeth in their sleep until they are told by their sleep partner or dentist.

Bruxism 02

Over time, grinding your teeth in your sleep causes extensive damage to the structure and enamel of the teeth, which can lead to decay and increased sensitivity. It can also cause headaches, disrupt your sleep, and cause pain in the jaw, face, and neck.

What Is Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome?

Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome refers to problems affecting the function of the muscles of the jaw or the temporomandibular joint that connects the jaw to the skull. Injuries to the jaw and bruxism are common causes of temporomandibular joint syndrome. Symptoms include:

  • Pain or tenderness in the face, jaw, neck, shoulders, or around the ear
  • Difficulty chewing or opening the mouth wide
  • A popping or clicking sound when you open or close your mouth
  • A jaw that seems to get stuck or locked in a position
  • Swelling on the side of the face

What Is a Custom Night Guard?

A night guard looks similar to the trays used for teeth whitening and sits over the teeth to protect them from grinding or clenching. A teeth protector for sleeping does not actually stop you from clenching or grinding your teeth; however, it does shield and cushion the teeth from excessive wear and helps re-establish the natural space between the upper and lower teeth.

Bruxism 03

Although a night guard is not the only treatment for bruxism or temporomandibular joint pain, it is an affordable, convenient, and non-invasive treatment option. A properly fitted night guard shifts the jaw and teeth into proper alignment, which can alleviate jaw tension, headaches, pain, and other symptoms of temporomandibular joint syndrome.

Why Is It Important to Get a Mouth Guard for Jaw Clenching?

Ignoring your bruxism symptoms can lead to serious dental issues requiring expensive treatments. For example, bruxism is a leading cause of root canal treatment. Individuals who grind their teeth can experience up to 2 millimetres of enamel erosion by their 20s, which increases the risk for cavities. Jaw clenching can subject the jaw and teeth to as much as 40 minutes of massive force per hour, which can set the stage for jaw and muscle pain.

Bruxism 04

At Maidstone Dental & Implant Centre, we strive to make your visit as comfortable and stress-free as possible. If you are experiencing tooth damage, jaw pain, or other symptoms of bruxism, call today to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced dentists. If your dentist determines that your issues are caused by teeth grinding or clenching, we will help you find the right night guard or bruxism treatment for you. Call us today at 01622 682 029 to book your appointment.

Invisalign – Caring for your braces

Oct_blgimg_IS_01

With more and more people opting for Invisalign teeth straightening procedures to improve the appearance of their teeth.

The team at Maidstone Dental and Implant Centre have some top tips to ensure that your aligners have the best possible care.

Good Oral Hygiene

Although Invisalign aligners are removable, you will still need to ensure that you brush your teeth and clean interdentally after every meal, prior to replacing your aligner.

This may seem tedious or excessive, but neglecting your oral hygiene can lead to serious oral health problems such as gum disease and tooth decay, or cause unsightly staining on your teeth. Taking good care of your aligners is essential for avoiding complications while you are wearing them and to ensure that you end up with great-looking teeth once you’re not! No matter how much money, pain, and time you’ve already invested in Invisalign, proper oral care is still the key to walking away with a beautiful, healthy smile.

Oct_blgimg_IS_02

Clean Your Aligners

Ideally, you should be cleaning your Invisalign aligners each time you brush your teeth. Remember, that any plaque or food particles will also sit on your teeth if you don’t practice good dental hygiene, regardless of whether you’re wearing a brace or not. So don’t fall into the trap of thinking your teeth are protected from tooth decay when wearing Invisalign aligners.

Rinse your aligners every night and brush them gently with your toothbrush to keep them fresh and clean and use the Invisalign cleaning system to keep your aligners clear. Under no circumstances should you soak your Invisalign aligners in mouthwash. With so many mouthwashes on the market each containing different chemicals, it would be impossible to advise on what is safe and what isn’t. Most mouthwashes also contain a coloured pigment, which may transfer onto the invisible brace leaving you with a strange tinted brace.

Routine Dental Appointments

It is also important that you attend for your dental appointments. These will normally be scheduled every four to eight weeks and allow the dentist to closely monitor your treatment. If you miss appointments your treatment will be extended and take much longer to complete.

Get Repairs Quickly

If you break or lose your Invisalign aligners, it is very important that you attend an appointment with your dentist as quickly as possible. While your aligners are lost or damaged your teeth can start to move back into their original position, increasing your treatment time.

If you have any questions or would like more help and advice on caring for your Invisalign aligners do not hesitate to ask the dentist on your next visit to the surgery. Call Maidstone Dental and Implant Centre today on 01622 682 029 and book a consultation.

Dental Implants

Over the past few years there has been a large increase in the number of people turning to dental implants to fill gaps caused by missing teeth. Dental implants are used to support one of more false teeth; this could be in the form of a crown, a bridge or dentures.

The team at Maidstone Dental and Implant Centre, cosmetic dentists in Maidstone have been placing dental implants on patients for a number of years and have hundreds of happy clients who have been able to regain their smile. Dental implants are a safe and well-established treatment and are currently the closest possible replacement to having your own teeth back again. Provided they are looked after, dental implants provide a long term solution and should last for many years.

Treatment

Prior to any treatment you will need to attend for a consultation appointment. At this appointment, the dentist will perform a full examination of your mouth and take x-rays to assess the level of bone present in your jaw. If you do not have enough bone or the bone is not healthy enough it may not be possible to proceed with dental implants without first having a bone graft.

Most dental implant surgery is complete under local anaesthetic; this means that you will be awake and aware of what is going on during treatment. If you are very nervous the dentist may prescribe a mild sedative to help keep you calm during your appointment. Placing a dental implant is often easier than taking the tooth out was initially. You may experience some discomfort in the week following surgery, but this should be easily managed with over the counter pain killers.

It will normally take 3-4 months from the placement of the screw into your jaw for the dentist to be able to start the restoration. This ensures the bone has time to heal fully around the titanium screw securing it in place.

Once the site has healed fully the dentist will be able to form the crown, a bridge or dentures to fit over the screw and fill any gaps. It is not always necessary to have one dental implant for every missing tooth, your dentist will be able to advise on the ideal placement of any dental implants to give the best retention for any restoration. Once in place the restorations will match closely the natural colour of your teeth so no-one will know that you have missing teeth.

Aftercare

Looking after your dental implants should be no more difficult than looking after your natural teeth. However, the dentist may advise that you attend for more regular hygienist appointments to ensure that the dental implants stay free of plaque and calculus build up.

If you do not care for your dental implants properly there is a risk of developing gum disease can affect the stability of the dental implant and in the long term if left untreated can cause the dental implant to fail.

At Maidstone Dental and Implant Centre we are able to offer high quality dental implants with our specialist Dental Implant and Oral Surgery Team.

Call us on 01622 682 029 to book in for a dental implant consultation today and start your journey to your ideal smile.

Top tips to keep your teeth looking their best after teeth straightening

Good dental care is just as important after your braces are off as while you’re wearing them. It is very important to help ensure that your teeth stay looking great.

At Maidstone Dental & Implant Centre, we have some tips for what you can do in the months and years after your braces are removed.

Get a thorough clean and check up

If you’ve had braces, you know how difficult it can be to brush and floss well. The longer you’ve had your braces, the more likely it is that plaque and stains have accumulated and settled on your teeth. A professional dental cleaning with the hygienist is the best way to remove them, and there’s no better time for a thorough cleaning and exam than right after braces.

Now that your teeth are beautifully straight, let us get them sparkling clean and stain-free!

Oral Hygiene

Ensure that you have in place an effective oral hygiene routine. You should brush your teeth at least twice a day using a fluoride toothpaste and use interdental cleaning aids such as floss, tape or interdental brushes to clean the 40% of tooth surfaces that brushing alone cannot reach. This ensures that you remove food particles that can become trapped between teeth. If left these provide a food source for bacteria and in the long term can lead to tooth decay and gum disease.

Wear your retainer as directed

Our teeth have a natural tendency to move back to their original position after a teeth straightening procedure. In fact, your teeth are at the biggest risk of moving back in the first few weeks and months after your braces come off.

Your retainer keeps your teeth in their new, aligned position. Always wear your retainer as instructed. It is also important to clean your retainers at least once a day. You don’t want to put a bacteria-filled retainer back into a freshly-brushed mouth.

Consider Teeth Whitening

After all your patience and hard work, professional teeth whitening is a great way to put that sparkle back into your smile. Teeth whitening can help to add the finishing touch to your new smile.

Maintain your beautiful smile

Most people get braces because they want a healthy, beautiful smile. Good dental care during and after teeth straightening can help you achieve that. That’s why it’s so important to get regular cleanings and talk to your dentist about any concerns you may have.

For more information about caring for your teeth following teeth straightening, talk to your Maidstone Dental & Implant Centre dentist at your next appointment. Call today on 01622 682 029 to book your appointment.

Frequently asked questions about dental implants

In this month’s blog we look to answer the most frequently asked questions about dental implants.

What are dental implants?

A dental implant is made up of three parts. A small titanium screw is inserted into the jaw bone, an abutment is then attached to this and then a crown, bridge or denture is placed on top, depending on the number of teeth to be replaced.

How successful are dental implants?

Dental implants have a 95% success rate, but as with any dental procedure there are risks associated.

Are dental implants always suitable?

Dental implants success are dependent on you having sufficient healthy jaw bone, meaning they are not suitable for patients with advanced gum disease or those that smoke. At Maidstone Dental & Implant Centre we will perform a thorough assessment to determine your suitability for dental implants.

Is there an age limit for dental implants?

There is no age limit for dental implants. You would just need to attend for an assessment with one of our dentists.

Is the procedure painful?

Treatment will be carried out under a local anaesthetic. Though the local anaesthetic injections can sting a little,once you are numb, you will not feel anything sharp or painful at all throughout your treatment. You will feel some pressing and pushing during the procedure as well as some vibration during the drilling stage, but this will not be sharp or painful in any way and your dentist will check to make sure you are completely numb before starting the surgery.

Are dental implants expensive?

It is perfectly normal to consider carefully the cost of any large expenditure. Dental implants are an investment in your dental health and it is down to each individual patient to decide if the improvements to quality of life, function, confidence, and appearance are worthwhile. We only ever prescribe treatment that is necessary and will always aim to offer alternatives to any dental implant treatment.

How long will treatment take?

If the treatment is straightforward, it can be a little as eight to ten weeks from placement of the implant to fit of the final crown. However, sometimes treatment can take longer depending on the level of complexity of your case, with some patients not finishing for up to a year. The exact time frame will be ascertained from your assessment at Maidstone Dental & Implant Centre.

What are the benefits of dental implants?

  • Dental implants are fixed in place and are currently the closest possible restoration to having your natural teeth back.
  • Dental implants will not slip or move and remove the need for adhesives.
  • Dental implants are self-supporting and do not damage the surrounding healthy teeth
  • Dental implants are long lasting and should last for at least 10 years

How do I care for my dental implants?

Dental implants can be cared for in the same way as your natural teeth. It is important to brush twice a day and use interdental cleaning aids daily. You will also need to attend for regular review appointments with your dentist.

If you would like some more information on whether dental implants can help replace your missing teeth, call Maidstone Dental & Implant Centre on 01622 682 029 and book an appointment today.

3 benefits of wearing a mouthguard

Do you or your children participate in sports? Then read on. As an athlete or a parent, you’ve probably heard about mouth guards, the flexible piece of plastic you can wear over your teeth. Mouthguards are not required for every sport, so it can be easy to forget about it or let it slide, but it is estimated that over 3 million teeth are knocked out every year in kids’ sports! Mouth guards significantly minimize the risk of sports injuries to the mouth and jaw and while it is obvious that a mouth guard is beneficial during collision and contact sports, you may not be aware of the benefits of wearing a mouth guard for other sports to. Basically, for any sport where there is a risk of face contact with other people or surfaces, a mouth guard can reduce the risk of suffering a dental injury.

So, although mouth guards may not be the coolest thing to wear, there are three big benefits that may quickly change your mind.

1. Protect your teeth

Without a mouth guard, your teeth are more likely to be chipped, broken teeth or even get knocked out (tooth loss). Saving you money in the long run, by reducing the risk of needing root canals, dental crowns, bridges, dental implants and splinting or TMJ treatments.

2. Protect your face and mouth

A mouth guard can prevent bruising and cuts to the lip, tongue, or face. This is especially important for anyone with a fixed orthodontic appliance.

3. Protect against other serious injuries

This includes root, bone damage and jaw fractures. Mouth guards can help avoid a situation where the lower jaw jams into the upper jaw. Also, mouth guards may reduce the severity of concussions by acting as a buffer to a blow.

For more information about protecting your teeth during sports or athletic activities, talk to your Maidstone Dental & Implant Centre dentist at your next appointment. They will be able to help you select the most effective protection for your specific needs. Call today on 01622 682 029 to book your appointment.

Make Brushing Fun!

With all the children now thinking about heading back to school, we look at the vital part a good oral hygiene routine plays in keeping teeth healthy from an early age.

In this article we look at some of the common problems in achieving this and tips to ensure your children’s teeth stay in tip top condition.

  • Not brushing thoroughly

It is common for children to rush through brushing their teeth, meaning that parts of their mouths are missed.

Get your child to imagine their mouth is divided into four segments and they need to brush each segment for 30 seconds. This will mean that it is more likely that they will brush all the surfaces of their teeth.If you think they have missed any teeth, follow up by brushing their teeth yourself when they have finished.

  • Not brushing for long enough

Many young children have no concept of how long two minutes is. A great way to ensuring that they are brushing for the required length of time is to introduce a fun timer using their favourite song, an egg timer, or an electric toothbrush with a built-in timer. This way they get a clear idea of how long they need to be brushing their teeth for.

  • Not wanting to brush their teeth

Making brushing fun is the best way to ensure successful brushing.

  1. You could allow them to pick their own toothbrush with a favourite cartoon character on it.
  2. Make a special toothbrush holder with stickers and coloured paper
  3. Brush along to a favourite song
  4. Fill in a brushing reward chart every day leading to a reward at the end of the month

Top tips for children’s teeth brushing

  • Use a toothbrush recommended by your dental team and get your children to choose their favourite colours or characters
  • Use a suitable fluoride strength toothpaste for their age group:
    Under three years old – 1000ppm

    Over three years old – 1350-1500ppm

  • Find a toothpaste that they like the flavour of
  • Children easily swallow toothpaste, so it is best to use a smear of toothpaste for babies and children up to three years of age, and a pea-sized blob for children aged three to six
  • Brush for two minutes, twice a day. This should be last thing at night and on one other occasion during the day – usually in the morning.
  • Divide brushing into four sections in the mouth and brush each quadrant for 30 seconds – upper left, upper right, lower right, lower left.
  • Brush in a circular motion and brush each surface of each tooth – tops and sides.
  • Spit the toothpaste out after brushing but do not rinse. Rinsing washes away the protective fluoride

If you would like some more help and advice on ensuring your children’s teeth stay healthy, call Maidstone Dental & Implant Centre on 01622 682 029 and book an appointment today, all our staff are highly experienced dealing with children and can ensure that any visit is fun and stress free!

University Oral Health Survival guide

The key risk factors for students heading off to university regarding their oral health are from excessive alcohol consumption, caffeine dependence and a poor diet.

The team at Maidstone Dental & Implant Centre have therefore come up with some top tips to ensure that you can enjoy university without worrying about your oral health.

  • Oral hygiene routine

Be sure to brush your teeth twice a day using a fluoride toothpaste and clean inter-dentally daily. This will help to ensure that you remove any food and plaque trapped between teeth, where brushing alone misses, reducing the risk of gum disease and tooth decay

  • Use a straw

Sounds silly right? Drinking from a straw helps prevent stains because you avoid direct contact with the front of your teeth. It also reduces the time harmful acids are in contact with your teeth reducing the risk of acid erosion.

  • Limit your sugar intake

Sugar is one of the biggest factors that contribute to tooth decay. While having sugar in your diet is essential, most people tend to have too much. Try to limit sugar to mealtimes wherever possible and avoid constantly grazing on sweet treats to help reduce the risk of tooth decay.

  • Donot constantly sip

Sugar in wine, mixed drinks and fizzy drinks combine with bacteria in your mouth to form acid which then attack the teeth. This ‘attack’ generally has a life span of 20 minutes so every time you take another sip, the cycle restarts. The long-term effect is weakened enamel and susceptibility to tooth decay.

  • Visit the dentist

Whether you choose to register with a dentist at university or remain with your dentist at home, it is important that you attend for regular, routine appointments as often as your dentist recommends to maintain your oral health.

Want to ensure that you can hit the ground running when you arrive at University? Why not book in for a routine dental appointment and ensure that your oral health is top notch before you go. Call Maidstone Dental & Implant Centre on 01622 682 029 today to book your appointment.

Do I really have gum disease?

Gum disease is a swelling, soreness or infection of the tissues supporting the teeth. The initial stage of gum disease is gingivitis and if left untreated it can progress to periodontal disease which is irreversible. Gingivitis is where the gums around the teeth become very red and swollen and the gums will often bleed when they are brushed.

Gum disease is caused by poor oral hygiene which allows plaque to build up on the surface of teeth and gums. As well as affecting your teeth and gums, poor oral health can cause or make worse heart disease, strokes, diabetes, and lung disease. Gum disease is also the leading cause of tooth loss in adults in the UK

Signs of Gum disease

Gum disease may progress painlessly, producing few obvious signs, even in the late stages of the disease. Although the symptoms of periodontal disease often are subtle, the condition is not entirely without warning signs. Certain symptoms may point to some form of the disease. The symptoms of gum disease include:

  • Inflammation of the gums, causing them to be red, swollen and to bleed easily, especially when brushing
  • An unpleasant taste in your mouth
  • Bad breath
  • Receding gums
  • Loose teeth
  • Regular mouth infections
  • Changes in the way teeth fit together upon biting down, or in the fit of partial dentures

If you notice any of these signs you should speak to your dentist who will be able to investigate further.

Keeping your smile healthy

During a dental exam, your dentist typically checks for these things:

  • Gum bleeding, swelling, firmness, and pocket depth (the space between the gum and tooth; the larger and deeper the pocket, the more severe the disease)
  • Teeth movement and sensitivity and proper teeth alignment
  • Your jawbone, to help detect the breakdown of bone surrounding your teeth

The goals of gum disease treatment are to promote reattachment of healthy gums to teeth; reduce swelling, the depth of pockets, and the risk of infection; and to stop disease progression.Your dental team will remove all the plaque from your teeth and advise you on the best dental aids to use to maintain your oral hygiene routine in between visits. The best way to prevent gum disease is to put in place a good oral hygiene routine.

  • Brush your teeth twice a day using a fluoride toothpaste.
  • Clean your teeth interdentally daily using floss, tape, or interdental brushes
  • Stop smoking
  • Attend for regular dental appointments

If you are at all concerned about your teeth or believe you may be suffering with gum disease call Maidstone Dental & Implant Centre on 01622 682 029 and book an appointment for a consultation today