Should You Ignore Minor Discomfort In Your Teeth Or Gums?

Don’t let a ‘head in the sand’ approach to dental problems damage your oral health!

DentistAs we slowly come out of lockdown, everyday events will hopefully start to return to something more ‘normal’; accompanied by a few adjustments to acknowledge that the virus hasn’t gone away entirely.

One of the ‘easings’ is that our Chelmsford dental clinic is now open again for patient visits. There have been adjustments made to minimise any risk of infection and we hope that our patients feel at ease about visiting us again.

Initially, we will be treating those most in need but that doesn’t mean that we have forgotten about those of you looking forward to resuming or starting new treatments.

Niggly toothaches

It is likely that there will have been some of you who have had what you might consider to be minor problems with your teeth during lockdown. By this we mean those slight niggles and aches that don’t really feel that bad and can sometimes be ignored, or masked using an everyday painkiller. Whilst managing these symptoms at home was necessary whilst dental practices were closed, continuing this is far from a good idea.

At Blue Sky Dental we believe in early intervention where a problem exists. Dental problems virtually never go away of their own accord and if you have been in discomfort, however minor, you really need to see a dentist to have the problematic tooth checked out. There could be a number of reasons for your discomfort, with tooth decay probably being the most common; although gum disease is also a possibility.  If you choose not to have this checked, and treated where necessary, the problem will almost certainly become a lot worse as time goes by.

Early intervention

Assuming that your problem is related to tooth decay, it is usually a straightforward one to resolve. This is usually done using a filling, including our very discreet white fillings. If decay is detected early on, it will often involve the removal of a smaller amount of the tooth than if you wait until the problem is more advanced. So please always ask us to check any problems that you might be having as soon as you can.

Ignoring minor discomfort

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Get Your Oral Health Back On Track At Blue Sky Dental!

Restorative treatments available to our Chelmsford patients

Woman at the dentistAs we finally start to enter the post lockdown period where dentists, amongst other businesses, are allowed to open again, many of you will be looking to catch up on some of the things that were part of your normal life before lockdown such as haircuts, clothes shopping and also, of course, getting your teeth checked.

As we gradually open Blue Sky Dental, we will be attempting to see all of you who have already had problems with your teeth. We will do our best to see the most urgent cases first, before working our way through the backlog as quickly as possible.

It is very likely that some of you will need to have treatment, however minor. An extended period away from having your teeth checked, along with the other stresses and strains that we have mentioned in recent blogs, are likely to have had a detrimental effect on your oral health.

In today’s blog, we will take a look at some of the most likely dental issues that may have arisen during lockdown, and the treatments available to restore them.

Tooth decay

As it is likely to have been longer than usual since you last saw a dentist, any small cavity that has formed in your teeth will probably have become larger than would normally have been the case. This is unfortunate but hopefully the tooth can still be restored with a regular filling. For those of you who prefer your smile to look as natural as possible, we also offer white tooth fillings that can be made to match the colour of your teeth.

Where the cavity is too large or where the tooth has broken away, it may be necessary to have a crown fitted to restore the tooth so that it not only looks natural but is strong enough for your normal daily use.

Temporary filling replacements

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Don’t Let Anxiety Prevent Your Return To The Dentist

Some helpful advice for nervous Chelmsford patients

nervousFor some, it might seem like a lifetime ago that we went into lockdown. It has been a difficult time for us all, and especially for those local dental patients who have suffered from problems whilst we have been closed.

Although serious cases may have been referred to urgent dental care units, there are probably some of you who have had to tolerate a persistent toothache for some time and have been unable to receive treatment for it, managing any discomfort by taking painkillers.

Following changes in government guidelines, we are now able to re-open on June 8th. We are still evaluating the guidance and hope to be able to advise shortly what procedures we are, and aren’t, able to carry out when we first open. Naturally, we will do all that we can to help those patients who are suffering first of all, before moving on to more routine care.

There is one category of patient that we wish to address in today’s blog though, and that is those who may have had their appointment cancelled due to the Covid-19 situation and whose anxiety may deter them from making a new one.

Dental anxiety and Covid-19

Dental anxiety is relatively common and operates at different levels. Many people likely feel at least a twinge of anxiety about seeing a dentist, but most will still attend and receive essential care. There are those though who are much more nervous and may find excuses and reasons not to go.

It is this latter group that we are particularly concerned about. A patient who already struggles with anxiety may find that this has increased with all the additional stresses of the last few months. Some of these will have previously struggled with their anxiety but still succeeded in attending our Chelmsford practice. However, others may have been ‘tipped over the edge’ by the lockdown and feel that they are now unable to keep a new appointment.

Talk to us

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The Adverse Effects Of Snacking On Your Teeth

Chelmsford dentist, Bhavin Buva, discusses oral health problems arising from this increasingly common habit.

Dental examinationThere was a time, not so long ago, when most of us would eat three regular meals a day, usually sitting around the table with our family. There might occasionally be small treats in between, but by and large this was our routine eating habit for many years.

Nothing stays the same though and the rise of readily available and easily cooked ready meals and snacks means that many of us now eat at different times to the rest of our family, with some even preferring to avoid ‘mealtimes’ and instead, tending to snack throughout the day.

A recent study by the Oral Health Foundation has revealed that the tendency to snack has increased by 38% since the nation went into lockdown due to the Covid-19 situation. There are obviously general health implications here, but also implications for our oral health as we will discuss now.

Types of food

Although it is possible to live largely on convenience meals and live reasonably healthily if we make the right choices, many of us probably don’t. We probably tend to go for the familiar rather than try out healthier options. Unfortunately even many savoury ready meals are high in sugar content, whether for preservation or taste purposes. An occasional ready meal will make little difference in the greater scheme of things but with these making up a significant part of the diet of much of the population, the increased amount of sugar consumed is likely to see a rise in cases of tooth decay and gum disease, including amongst our Blue Sky Dental patients.

It isn’t just the main meals that give cause for concern as much snacking is also taking place between meals. Perhaps, during lockdown, this is largely caused by stress or just simple boredom. Things may return to normal when this is all over but snacking can be a habit that can linger. Doing this for any length of time is likely to cause dental problems, especially as so many snacks tend to be on the sugary side.

It isn’t just the fact that these foods contain high levels of sugar that is the problem though. The regularity with which we eat them is an issue in its own right.

Acid buildup

All foods will cause some degree of harm to our teeth and gums if they are not kept clean. Brushing and flossing are an essential part of this but our mouths are continually managing the amount of bacteria, sugars and acids present by washing them away with saliva.

This is something that happens all of the time, but when we snack, rather than leaving significant gaps between our meals, there is simply insufficient time available for the saliva to do its job effectively before we eat again. This means that our teeth and gums are coming into regular and almost constant contact with harmful substances.

Even with more tooth friendly foods, this can cause a problem over time; with typical snack foods such as sweets, crisps and biscuits, the amount of sugar consumed is significant. Problems like tooth decay, sensitivity and even gum disease can soon follow.

Can you snack in a tooth friendly manner?

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Stress Resulting From Coronavirus Concerns

The impact of stress on our teeth and our overall oral health

nervousHow are you coping with the ‘lockdown’? Perhaps it hasn’t made a huge difference to your lifestyle if you were already working from home, or perhaps you miss the daily office banter with your work colleagues and your friends and are feeling lonely and isolated.

That said, there are likely to be few people who the current situation will not affect in some way or another. Whilst some people might find that staying at home has brought benefits, the reality for others may be very different altogether.

The general daily challenges of staying at home, whether alone or with the children can be hard enough. Combine this with the daily news of deaths and tragedies and it isn’t too surprising that many people are reported to be feeling significantly more stressed than usual.

Stress and your oral health

In today’s Blue Sky Dental blog, we are going to take a look at the impact that stress can have on our teeth and gums and offer some suggestions that our Chelmsford patients might find useful to help reduce it.

Bruxism

One of the most significant impacts that stress can have on our teeth is when we grind them together. Although this can happen when we are really angry and ‘gnash’ our teeth together, it is more likely to occur whilst we sleep, perhaps as a form of outlet for our stress. The fact that it happens when we are asleep makes it much more difficult to control of course and only reducing our general stress levels is likely to ease this problem.

Ongoing bruxism can cause a number of problems for our teeth and the most dramatic of these is when teeth break or shatter under the sheer force. This is perhaps more likely to happen with teeth that are already weakened or compromised and breakages of this nature are relatively rare.

More commonly, tooth grinding will cause enamel to wear down. As the enamel protects the inner part of our teeth, when this has been compromised decay is more likely, as is significant tooth sensitivity when we eat or drink hot or cold foods and drinks.

Over consumption of non tooth friendly foods

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Coronavirus Lockdown – Now And Looking Ahead

Keeping teeth healthy now and in future

Woman brushing teethWe now know what many of us have expected for a little while; that the current ‘lockdown’ situation is to be extended for at least another 3 weeks. What happens after that will depend on trends and the general direction of the virus. It does still mean though that your Chelmsford dental practice remains closed until further notice and only urgent emergency dental advice can be given out by most UK dentists at this time.

We encourage patients, in this difficult time, to make sure that they look after their teeth as well as they can. A lost filling or a minor toothache can’t easily be treated at present, but if it occurs, it will make things even more difficult than they already are.

In today’s blog, we offer some suggestions for keeping your teeth healthy as well as taking a look towards the future when we are able to open again. Currently, we do not know when that might be, but rest assured, we will keep you advised as the situation changes.

Some basic oral healthcare tips

Regular brushing should be carried out. If your routine has changed because you are no longer going to work or college, try to find a new regular time slot for your morning brushing so that you don’t let it slip. Brush well, for 2 minutes using a fluoride toothpaste. Make sure to angle the brush so that it reaches beneath the gum line and clears away food debris and bacteria. Also please make sure your bristles aren’t worn as well and if they are, change the brush or head.

Add flossing to your routine if you don’t already do this. It is a great way to remove food and bacteria that a toothbrush finds difficult to reach. There are many instructional videos available online so use this time wisely and try to improve the way that you care for your teeth and gums.

Avoid eating too much sugar. We might be tempted to eat more chocolate, sweets and cake if we are feeling anxious about staying in all of the time. Sugar is known to cause tooth decay though and avoiding a toothache at this time, as far as possible, is very wise.

Coming out of the lockdown restrictions

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Children’s Oral Health Care When Off School

This extended break could lead to younger children falling out of their usual routine.

Children showing great teethDuring the current Coronavirus/Covid-19  situation, many of us will have our children at home for longer than we originally anticipated.

Although there is a possibility that schools may go back before the summer holidays begin, this seems increasingly unlikely.

It can be difficult for parents to keep their children entertained at home and sometimes we have to get creative, and the same applies when it comes to encouraging them to continue to look after their teeth when they are out of their usual routine.

Blue Sky Dental believes that it is important that our Chelmsford patients take time and care to make sure that their children look after their teeth well during this difficult time. Below we offer a few simple suggestions to help you to help them keep their teeth and gums healthy.

Don’t overindulge their sweet tooth

Nearly all kids enjoy eating sweets. This is likely to be even more the case when they are bored of sitting around, unable to play with their friends. Although it is important that we look after our children’s mental well being at this time, perhaps allowing more leeway than usual, it is still important that we don’t allow them to over indulge.

By all means, let them have occassional treats, but do take care to restrict the amount of sugary foods that they eat. You might think that you are helping them to get through the boredom, but sugar has no sympathy and will cause tooth decay at this time, as at any other.

If they are getting bored, try to come up with some creative ideas, based on what you know they like, whether that be mermaids or dragons. Colouring competitions or ‘dress up’ can be fun, and you can join in too. Perhaps use sweets as a reward for these activities rather than allow them to dip into the sweet jar as they wish.

Make sure they clean their teeth

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Coronavirus And Your Dental Appointments

Current advice from Blue Sky Dental in Chelmsford.

Blue Sky Dental in ChelmsfordThe spread of the Coronavirus has reached a point where few of us can be unaware of it. It may not have reached the level in the UK that it has in some other countries but this could well change in the near future. Patients should listen to advice given by experts, such as washing your hands well for 20 seconds, but it can also be difficult to avoid the more sensationalist and even false news as well.

It is understandable that some of our Chelmsford patients will be concerned about the virus in general, and may be particularly concerned about both catching and spreading it if they go to see their dentist. This is understandable, but as things currently stand, we believe that there is no reason to cancel your appointment unless you believe you may have been infected or unless the Government advises. In today’s blog, we look at some of the dental related issues around the Coronavirus.

Cross infection Control

Cross infection is always a small risk when you receive dental treatment but great care is taken to keep this to an absolute minimum. Dentists will always wear face masks and protective gloves whilst performing any procedure, including check ups. Both of these are used for one time only and then carefully disposed of.

All multi-use equipment is thoroughly sterilised after being used on each patient and any viruses that linger will be killed during the process.

Our dental practice is always thoroughly deep cleaned and although we always do make sure this is done well, the Coronavirus has obviously highlighted the need to do this extremely thoroughly.

It is not just the surgeries which are cleaned. The waiting room and all other areas are kept clean as well, minimising the risk of infections being passed on when you visit our Chelmsford practice.

How real are the risks?

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Do You Have A Complex Dental Problem? If So, We Can Help

Blue Sky Dental practice provides specialist dental care for those difficult to treat oral health problems.

Dental Specialist in Chelmsford, EssexThe vast majority of our patients will go through life with a few, hopefully none too serious dental issues that can be resolved by a dentist who has undergone the necessary training to be allowed to legally practice general dentistry in the UK.

Unfortunately, this won’t be the case for everyone and some of us will need treatments that are more complex and which may not be able to be performed by their current dentist.

If you live in Chelmsford or indeed, in Essex generally, our specialist dental service will enable you to receive the necessary treatment with a dentist who has undergone the additional training that allows them to perform treatments that are outside the scope of general dentistry.

The following are some of the specialist services that we offer at our Chelmsford dental practice.

Oral surgery

An oral surgeon is a highly trained specialist who can treat not only the teeth and gums, but also other areas of the mouth including the soft tissues of the neck and jaw. This is especially useful for anyone who has undergone significant facial trauma such as in a car accident. They are also able to remove wisdom teeth, especially where the circumstances are more complex. To qualify to be an oral surgeon requires three additional years of training so you can be sure that you will be in safe hands.

Prosthodontics

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The Use Of Bonding In Dentistry

This composite material has many uses, both practical and cosmetic.

white teeth and dental mirrorOver time, dentistry has become more sophisticated. From invisible braces, dental implants that replace the root as well as the crown part of the tooth, and computerised technology that speeds up processes whilst also providing a greater degree of accuracy and reliability, it is safe to say that things have changed for the better in the world of dental care.

It is interesting though that some forms of dental care have changed little over time and are relatively ‘basic’ in their application. They can still have a useful role to play though and one that is often used at our handy Chelmsford dental surgery is a case in point, and that is bonding.

What is bonding?

Also sometimes referred to as ‘cosmetic bonding’ as it is often used for this particular purpose; dental bonding is a composite resin that, as the name suggests, bonds, or sticks, to surfaces like the teeth. It requires no invasive treatment to apply it in most cases and offers a quick and relatively straightforward way to a number of problems.

What can it be used for?

Bonding is often used to cosmetically improve the appearance of teeth. It can be used to ‘fill in’ those tiny chips and cracks that can appear over time through wear and tear but that are not deep enough to cause any structural problems for the tooth. The bonding can be made in a shade to match the natural tooth and this helps to make it blend in well. This is especially beneficial when it is used to improve the colour of a tooth so that it matches those around it.

Dental bonding can be used to close small gaps between the front teeth (diastema) in some situations and also, potentially, to reshape or lengthen the appearance of a tooth. It can also be used for smaller fillings of the tooth so that they can barely be seen. Finally, where the gums have receded, it can be applied to protect the now exposed part of the tooth which would otherwise be potentially more vulnerable to decay and sensitivity.

How effective is it?

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