Eating When Wearing Dental Braces

Traditional braces can make eating difficult and potentially lead to other dental problems

clean teeth brace systemPrimarily, we eat to stay alive and to be as healthy as possible. Food provides us with a range of nutrients to build muscles, energy to go about our daily lives and many other functions. This is its basic role and it is essential to survival.

Most of us would also add to that, that it should also be enjoyable and be a pleasurable part of life. There is certainly little doubt that there are now a wider range of foods available for us to enjoy than there was say 50 years ago.

Most of us can simply sit down and enjoy a meal without even thinking about the practical aspects of it. For some people though, eating can be a bit of a challenge. This especially applies if you have poor quality teeth due to neglect, but also to those who currently wear traditional dental braces. The problems can go beyond the standard ‘spinach in the teeth’ issue too!

Dental braces and oral health

Whilst none of us want to walk around with food visibly stuck in our braces, the reality is that, apart from any aesthetic consideration, this trapped food will become even more problematic if it is not completely removed. As it breaks down, the food will produce sugars and acids and this is likely to lead to tooth decay, or even gum disease, to say nothing of the fact that rotting food alone can lead to smelly breath.

From the ‘pleasure’ aspect of eating, we may also make sacrifices, choosing foods that are easier to eat when wearing braces, rather than those that we really like.

What can be done about it?

The most obvious thing to say is that you should take extra care to clean your teeth well if you are wearing the wire and bracket type of braces, whether the traditional metal ones or the more discreet and fast acting ones such as the Inman Aligner that is available at Blue Sky Dental. Our Chelmsford dentists will be able to provide you with full cleaning information to help you keep your teeth as clean as possible whilst wearing your braces.

You might also decide to sacrifice your favourite foods in an attempt to prevent food becoming trapped. Remember though, that trapped food doesn’t need to be visible to cause damage and even small and hidden  particles of food can cause decay to occur. The final choice is, where practical, to avoid the traditional wire and bracket type of braces and opt instead for ‘invisible braces’. These are available to both adults and teenagers whose facial features have fully developed.

A word about invisible braces

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What Happens When We Smile?

Smiling doesn’t only enhance our appearance, it has a positive impact on our mental well being too

Smile makeoverFew people walk around with a permanent smile on their face, but it is thought that, on average, we smile around 50 times a day if we are of a happy disposition and around 20 for an average adult. If we compare that with the approximately 400 times a day a young child smiles, perhaps we can learn a few things from the younger people around us?

Mostly, our faces are relaxed until something stimulates us to smile. This can be for any number of reasons. Perhaps someone has said something funny or a thought comes to mind that makes us smile quite out of the blue. Your smile though, doesn’t just affect the way that you look but can also be of benefit to your overall sense of wellbeing. In today’s blog, we will discuss what happens and also how our Blue Sky dentists can help you make the most of your smile.

The chemistry

Few of us will think about the chemistry that happens when we smile. It just seems like a muscular response to a stimulus, but the reaction in our body is actually quite significant.

When we smile, our brains release neuropeptides; small molecules that play a significant part in fighting off stress. This then triggers reactions from other neurotransmitters such as endorphins and serotonin.  Both of these play a role in our sense of wellbeing with serotonin acting as a natural antidepressant and the endorphins working to provide some minor pain relief. Perhaps this is why we sometimes laugh involuntarily when we stub our toe for example (after the initial expletives, most probably). Some therapists suggest that even if we force ourselves to smile, these positive effects can be felt and can be used even during more difficult periods of our lives to help us through it.

When you’re smiling …..

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Late Summer Holiday? Things our Chelmsford Patients Should Look Out For

Going on holiday is great but make sure not to neglect your teeth!

Woman at the dentistWith Covid restrictions now more relaxed than they were, it has become more feasible for many of us to take our holiday abroad.

No doubt some of our Blue Sky Dental patients will have decided to leave it for another year to see what happens and to hopefully have a break free of testing and isolation risks etc, but a large number of you will, without doubt, have decided to squeeze in a break abroad before the summer is out.

In the excitement of planning for our holiday, many of us will barely give a second thought to our oral health but there are certain risks to our teeth and gums on holiday and also certain things that you can do to help ensure they remain healthy during your stay.

Health insurance

Especially now that we are no longer a part of the EU, please make sure that any health insurance you take out covers dental expenses. Although your budget might run to a minor filling if necessary, a more extensive dental treatment could cost you a lot of money if it is not covered by your insurance. Please check this before you leave.

Pack your toothbrush

A toothbrush is one of the things that often gets left at home. This is probably because we pack and then clean our teeth almost the last thing before we leave for the airport. Whilst you should be able to buy a toothbrush when you arrive at your destination unless you are going somewhere remote, it is best to have one handy for when you arrive, especially if the flight timings mean that you have been forced to miss one of your usual cleanings.

Plan in advance

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Sensitive Teeth – Prevention And Treatment in Chelmsford

Tooth sensitivity can range from being inconvenient to very painful. It doesn’t have to be this way….

DentistIf we bite and hold our teeth into a freezing cold ice cream, most of us will experience at least a certain degree of discomfort as the cold meets our teeth. Naturally, we wouldn’t normally do this, but even eating very cold or hot food and drinks in the usual way can cause problems for some people who experience a sharp and sometimes very severe pain when doing so.

Tooth sensitivity is a problem experienced by approximately 1 in 8 people in the UK to varying degrees. It is largely preventable in the majority of cases but even when the problem does arise, there are dental treatments available here in Chelmsford that can help you to eat and drink comfortably again.

Causes of sensitive teeth

Whilst a few of you might experience sensitive teeth caused by naturally very thin enamel, passed down through family genes, most of us have healthy enamel on our teeth that prevents this discomfort. The problem arises when this enamel becomes compromised. This largely happens in two ways.

Accidents

When a tooth becomes damaged through impact or we bite on something harder than expected, it might break and require filling or even a crown. Equally likely though is that a small crack will appear. This might not be noticeable to the naked eye but can make a significant difference when we eat or drink something hot or cold. Damaged enamel will expose the dentin layer of our teeth which is porous and allows sensations to travel quickly to the nerves that are located in the root canals of our teeth.

If you have an accident or a fall where your teeth are impacted; even if you can’t see any obvious damage, please arrange to have them checked by one of our Chelmsford dental  team. It is better to be safe than sorry.

Enamel erosion

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Endodontics – Treating Complex Dental Problems

Chelmsford endodontist, Dr Daniel Vaz De Souza, explains this treatment

EndodontistDental problems can occur when we don’t take care of our teeth correctly. This is not always deliberate and there are areas of the mouth that are notoriously difficult to clean, such as the very back of the rear teeth for example.

Problems can also happen when the teeth become under undue stress. This could include being hit in the face by a football or even biting on something unexpectedly hard. This type of impact can cause a tooth to chip, crack or even fracture.

Depending on whether we notice this or not and whether we decide the impact is enough to have it checked by a dentist, it is quite possible for what might seem like relatively light damage to have an impact deeper down in our teeth where the roots and other parts lay if not treated promptly.

Endodontics

Originating from the ancient Greek for ‘inside the tooth’, the field of endodontics deals with the interior of a tooth in the part that lies below not only the enamel but also the dentin layer below it. This area, most commonly known as the root canal, contains nerves, blood vessels and other soft pulp material and can become infected by bacteria when the enamel has been damaged and the inner part of the tooth exposed.

Providing that the initial damage to the tooth has been detected and checked by one of the Blue Sky Dental team, it can be treated before any harm comes to the root canals. Most commonly, this would be done by filling the tooth or, in the case of more significant damage, possibly a crown. Where this isn’t treated in time, bacteria can enter the porous dentin layer and work its way to the root canals of our teeth.  When this happens, it is usually treated using root canal therapy.

What is root canal treatment?

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What Can Be Done For Worn Down Teeth?

Cosmetic restorations can offer you a much improved smile

Blue Sky Dental in ChelmsfordThere are a lot of things that can go wrong with our teeth if we don’t look after them well. Perhaps the problem most familiar to us is tooth decay. Although this isn’t instant, it can occur over a relatively short space of time. Another fairly common problem, although occuring mainly over a longer term, is the gradual wearing down of the enamel on our teeth.

Although making sure that the enamel remains healthy through regular brushing etc will keep it strong and help to minimise the risk of wearing down, this can still happen, often over a longer period of time. There can be many causes including a poor diet, an incorrect bite or even grinding of the teeth when we sleep.

Problems resulting from worn down teeth

As the enamel of our teeth wears down, there are a number of problems that can arise for our Chelmsford patients. Some of these are largely aesthetic, but others can cause other issues including discomfort.

Small teeth

The bottom row of our front teeth especially can start to look smaller in size as they wear down. This can change what was once an attractive smile into one that looks more unusual. With more and more people becoming conscious about how their teeth look, this is one look that you will want to avoid.

Sensitive teeth

A common issues that we hear about during examinations at Blue Sky Dental is that of sensitive teeth. This doesn’t usually cause consistent pain but can bring sharp pains when extreme temperatures are encountered; for example, when eating ice cream. Even cold weather can set it off and cause you to avoid going out when the weather turns cold.

Weakened teeth

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How To Manage Dental Anxiety

Some useful tips for our nervous Chelmsford patients

nervousDental phobia is very common and you are certainly not alone. Some nervous patients also feel a little embarrassed as they sit in the chair whilst being examined or treated but believe us, we are used to it and it isn’t unusual for a dentist to be nervous when it comes to their turn in the chair either!

There are many theories as to why going to the dentist causes so much anxiety, but there is a general consensus that the fact that the mouth is near all the other sensory abilities such as sight, hearing etc probably makes this such an issue. You wouldn’t perhaps, feel so anxious if it was your foot that was being attended to.

Knowing the reasons and the fact that you are not alone probably does little to ease your own anxiety though and as regular dental care is so important, our Blue Sky dentists have put together a few suggestions that might help you to manage, and even possibly overcome, your own anxiety.

Find the right dentist for you

This one isn’t always easy and not because of the dentist’s skill but because of the way that we respond differently to people. A simple example would be that some people like a dentist that really takes their time and is as gentle as possible whilst others might prefer one who is still good at his job but does what they can to finish the treatment safely but as quickly as possible. Some also prefer a ‘chatty’ dentist, whilst others appreciate less conversation. We have a large clinical team at our Chelmsford practice and are happy to help nervous patients find a dentist that feels most comfortable for them.

Distractions

Some patients tell us that waiting to go into the treatment room is one of the worst parts of their dental visits. It is often true that what we imagine will happen is far worse than what does. The more time we have to think about this, the worse it is likely to get. Although we do try to keep your appointment time as accurate as we can, dental emergencies can arise and cause small delays. Bringing a book or your favourite music (with headphones) might help to distract you. Depending on the treatment required, the dentist may also allow you to wear your headphones during the treatment too, but please do ask.

Bring a friend

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Dental Implants Abroad – A Potential Risk To Oral Health?

With international travel restrictions lifting, some might be tempted by cheaper teeth implant offers overseas

Dental implant in the jaw boneAlthough we are still some way off ‘normality’, the signs are there that things are slowly starting to open up. Included in this, albeit cautiously, is international travel.

Whilst most people considering this will be doing so for a week or two in the sun, there are likely to be some who have been looking into having cosmetic dental treatments carried out abroad, with dental implants being the most popular of these.

One of the main reasons that people might choose this option is cost. Most of you will have seen advertisements offering teeth implants at a much cheaper rate than in the UK. There are a number of possible reasons for this and some of them come with risks attached. In today’s Blue Sky Dental blog, we will take a look at these along with how to spread the cost of implant treatment at our Chelmsford dental clinic.

First of all, we should state that these possible criticisms may not apply to all international dentists. There are many highly skilled dentists throughout the world, and indeed, many now practice in the UK. There may be small savings to be made internationally due to currency exchange rates and the cost of living in those countries. Once airfares and accommodation costs are taken into account though, it is less likely to be the bargain that you had hoped for.

Inferior materials

One way that some dentists might reduce their costs is to use inferior quality materials. This will cut costs obviously, but the old adage ‘you get what you pay for’ applies here. Implants have to be made from specific materials to allow the osseointegration process to occur (where the bone and implant fuse together). If cheaper materials are used, however skilled the dentist is, this process is unlikely to be as successful and could result in an unstable implant that will fail in the not so distant future.

Potentially less qualified dentists

As stated before, there are some excellent dentists internationally. In less regulated areas of the world though, there may well be some who are only partially qualified at best. We would definitely recommend that you avoid using dentists in parts of the less developed world, however cheap they appear to be. Even in more advanced countries, the regulations and qualifications to become a dentist can differ. This means that they may not match the standard of oral care that you are used to in the UK. As placing dental implants is complex, this should give cause for concern.

Language

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The Impact Of Diabetes On Your Oral Health

Chelmsford dentist, Dr Harminder Sehmi, explains why this common disease can have a negative impact on your teeth and gums

Dentist Harminder SehmiThere are now somewhere in the region of 4 million people in the UK who have been diagnosed with diabetes.

Some of these will be controlling it through a stricter dietary regime, whilst others will require medication to prevent it from becoming more serious and harmful to their health.

Diabetes can have a major impact on your teeth and gums as well, and in today’s blog, we are going to take a look at its potential effect and the role, if you are diagnosed, that you can play to help yourself maintain a healthy mouth.

What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a long lasting illness that affects the way that our bodies convert the food that we eat into the energy that we need. As we eat, most of the food is turned into sugar which enters into our bloodstream. As sugar levels rise, this triggers the pancreas to release insulin which then allows the sugar to be released for use as energy. In those who are diabetic, there is either insufficient insulin or it is not released as it should be. This then causes too much sugar to remain in the bloodstream which, over time, can lead to serious health conditions including heart and kidney disease and can also result in gradual sight loss as well.

How does diabetes affect teeth and gums?

Whether you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, your oral health can suffer as a result and you will need to be more vigilant about your overall oral care regimen.  As your blood sugar levels rise, there is likely also to be higher sugar levels in your saliva. As we well know, any form of sugar is harmful to teeth and as saliva is largely ever present, this means that your teeth and gums will be in contact with it for very long periods of time.

Diabetes sufferers are also more prone to having a dry mouth. As you will know from other Blue Sky Dental blogs that we have written about gum disease, this is a major problem and one which enables the bacteria in your mouth to thrive and grow in numbers. This can lead initially to gingivitis, and more seriously, periodontitis which may, if not treated and kept under control, ultimately lead to tooth loss.

What you can do to help keep your mouth healthy

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Improving The Appearance Of Stained Teeth

Cosmetic teeth whitening options for our Chelmsford patients

Smile makeoverThere is little doubt that one of the most popular cosmetic dental treatments that we provide is teeth whitening. There are many reasons for this which we will come to later, but one factor is that tooth discolouration is both common and often, also relatively straightforward to improve.

There are two types of tooth discolouration. That of surface staining, often caused by things that we eat or drink, such as red wine, and internal discolouration which is caused by the ageing process, darkening the dentin layer in our teeth which can then make our teeth appear a yellow colour.

Many of you will also have seen a growing number of advertisements both on TV and online, offering ways to whiten your teeth. Some of these, such as toothpastes, are likely to be of limited benefit whilst others often may not have the safeguards in place that you would get if you had a teeth whitening treatment at Blue Sky Dental.

Surface staining

We will start with this one as it is the type of staining that you are most likely to notice if you are relatively young. This type of staining is usually caused by our diet and lifestyle habits. Whilst red wine is well known for staining teeth, the reality is that all wine can do this. The reason for this is not just the colour of the wine but the acidity levels in them which can damage the enamel on our teeth in a way that creates a rough surface. This, in turn, makes it much easier for other staining items to find their way into the tiny pits and crevices on the surface of our teeth.

Other habits such as smoking are also likely to affect the appearance of our teeth. Not only is it extremely dangerous for your health, including the health of your mouth, but the tar may well leave your teeth looking a dark shade of yellow, and even, in some cases, brown.

Internal staining

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