How Often Should You Have A Dental Check-up?

Chelmsford dentist, Bhavin Bhuna, looks at recent articles suggesting yearly check-ups are sufficient

Dental examinationWith dental practices being open, but still affected by the current Covid situation, it isn’t surprising that there have been a number of news articles about oral care. Some of these have been slightly ‘sensationalist’ but some have covered worthwhile topics.

One which caught our eye claimed that there was little benefit in a patient having their teeth checked every six months. It is always worth challenging commonly held assumptions, and the six monthly check up that we carry out at Blue Sky Dental has been the backbone of a long standing preventative oral health care strategy.

In our view, unless more evidence comes to light that suggests the opposite, we believe that our Chelmsford patients should continue to have their teeth and gums checked every six months. There are a number of reasons for this, some of which are listed below.

Tooth decay

One of the most common oral problems that people suffer from is tooth decay. Whether this is caused by a failure to brush correctly or due to having a ‘sweet tooth’, anyone who has had decay will know just how uncomfortable a toothache can be. Tooth decay is also progressive and even the tiniest cavity formed will very likely get bigger as time passes. We believe that it is important to detect tooth decay as early as possible. Extending the period of time between checkups from 6 months to 12, or even longer as some have suggested, is likely to mean that more patients will suffer from painful toothaches, and cavities that could have been restored with a straightforward tooth filling may require more extensive treatment, or worse still, teeth may need to be extracted.

Gum Disease

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Improving Your Sense Of Wellbeing With A Whiter Smile

There may be some challenging months ahead but a whiter smile can make you feel better about yourself!

white teeth and smileAs we enter the second week of lockdown two, we are sure that some of you might be wondering when this all might end and whether we will even ever get back to normal at all.

This is understandable and there is no doubt that it is a difficult time for many of us. There is better news on the horizon though and once we reach spring, it is hoped that the warmer weather and possibly a vaccine being ready for distribution might finally herald the start of a journey back to something like we were used to before.

In the meantime, it is important that we follow government guidelines to minimise the spread as much as possible. It is equally important though, that we find ways to keep our spirits up, even if this does mean searching for new things that we can do to make our lives feel better in these tricky times.

Your smile

Home exercises and sourdough bread were amongst the things that people used last time to help them through the first lockdown. This time, we would like to suggest to patients of Blue Sky Dental that working on improving your smile might help to not only brighten up the months ahead, but also put you in a good position for when we are finally allowed to socialise again.

In a relaxed state, our mouths are mainly in a neutral position with our facial muscles largely being when we speak or smile. As there is probably likely to be less laughter than we would like over the next few months, why not look at doing some facial exercises? There are a number of videos widely available for this and practising and strengthening the smile muscles can only be a good thing. Indeed, some people say that even by putting on an artificial smile, we actually improve our mood.

Naturally, when we smile we want people to see a set of attractive teeth and not ones that have become stained or discoloured. We may brush our teeth well, and whilst this will help, but it won’t eliminate stained teeth altogether.

Why do teeth become discoloured?

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Second Lockdown – Your Questions Answered

Dental care for our Chelmsford patients during the latest Covid-19 restrictions

Blue Sky Dental in ChelmsfordWe all hoped that it wouldn’t come to a second lockdown, but the rising numbers of new Covid-19 cases and the threats to capacity of hospitals has meant that the government needed to take drastic action. There has been some debate around the method used, but it is generally accepted that significant action needed to be taken. As from one minute past midnight this Thursday morning, the whole country is, in effect, in a second lockdown.

What does this mean for patients of Blue Sky Dental? We know that many of you are concerned that dental practices may have to close again and that the backlog of appointments that we were gradually working our way through will start to lengthen again. With this in mind, we have taken a look at some of the most likely questions that you might have about the coming month or so ahead.

Will you be closing again?

Although we did have to close our Chelmsford dental clinic during the first lockdown, this is not the case this time around. In fact, a number of sectors that had to close first time around are able to stay open this time, a notable one being education. This is good news as a second lockdown in our sector could have led to further dental problems throughout the UK.

The reality is that although we have always taken cross infection control very seriously in order to protect our patients from airborne viruses such as influenza, the severity of the Covid-19 crisis has meant that, as we re-opened, we made every effort to improve this further. Some restrictions such as social distancing were put in place in all dental practices around the country. We also took delivery of effective PPE to protect patients and staff and also request that patients fill in a pre-screening questionnaire to make sure that their visits are as safe as possible. Hand sanitisers and information notices are also widely distributed throughout our practice. With these extra precautions in place, we are able to offer a safe environment at Blue Sky Dental.

It is perhaps because of these, and similar interventions, that have led the government to exclude dentists from closures this time around.

Are you still open for emergency appointments?

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Your Orthodontic Options For Straighter Teeth In Chelmsford

Our friendly local dentists can help you have a nicer smile with safe, appropriate teeth straightening treatment

Invisalign braceMany dental problems can be treated, or corrected, very quickly. Even replacing a full set of missing teeth with new replacement ones can sometimes be done in a single day with the aptly named ‘teeth in a day’ dental implant treatment. There are other issues though that can take longer to resolve and amongst the longest of these are crooked and uneven teeth.

Because treatment has to be gentle so as not to damage the teeth and surrounding bone tissue, straightening teeth can take a year or so to work. This will depend on each situation though and some cosmetic dental braces can work in just a few weeks.

To determine the type of orthodontic method most suitable for you, an examination at Blue Sky Dental in Chelmsford will be necessary and our team is on hand to help!

Modern dental braces

The idea of wearing braces can put some people off having their teeth straightened, leaving them with teeth that are less attractive than they could be. There is also the fact that crooked teeth are much more difficult to keep clean and therefore common problems such as decay may occur more often. Although it is true that some teeth braces do still use wires and brackets to correct the position of your teeth, these are now much more refined and use smaller wires and brackets to achieve their aim. They are also available in white which helps them to blend in much better with your natural teeth, making them significantly less visible.

This method can be used for all teeth straightening issues but is also commonly used where relatively minor cosmetic changes need to be made. This would apply, for example, where the very visible front teeth overlap. Depending on the severity of the problem, this method may only take a few weeks to correct it.

The other method is using clear aligners. These are also very successful at straightening your teeth but abandon the use of wires and brackets altogether. Instead of these, a series of transparent plastic trays are placed over the teeth, with each correcting the problem a little more than the one before. Unlike wire braces, these are removable by the patient which makes it much easier to keep your teeth clean and they can also be taken out when eating, meaning no more awkward issues at the dinner table!

Children and adults

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Don’t File Down Your Teeth!!!

A few words of warning to anyone considering this TikTok posted suggestion

Damaged toothSometimes, even those dentists that have been in practice for a long time are taken by surprise. We have seen people try to whiten teeth by brushing with bleach or pulling teeth out with pliers and even trying to straighten teeth with elastic bands.

A recent post on TikTok which has gone viral though, still had the ability to shock us at the sheer foolishness of it.

In the search for ‘perfection’ one user decided to file their teeth down with a nail file in order to ‘get rid of some ridges’ and because she was on a budget. This post has now been viewed over half a million times and the law of averages suggests that some people at least will now have damaged teeth because of it.

The golden rule for anyone who sees this type of post is don’t do it, or at the very least, ask one of our Chelmsford dental team who will be able to offer their professional advice.

Why not file your teeth?

We appreciate that not everyone understands the complexity of a tooth’s structure. To many people, a tooth is simply a solid block of something hard and they are only reminded that it is not when they have a bad toothache. Although the exterior of a tooth is made from enamel; within it are softer materials such as dentin and the dental pulp which includes nerves and tiny blood vessels. Whilst the enamel is strong, any damage to it, whether from an accident or even enamel erosion, increases the risk of further damage in addition to decay and root canal infections.

The most likely side effect that anyone doing this will soon discover is sharp discomfort when they eat or drink anything hot or cold. This is because the filing down of the enamel will have made your teeth more sensitive. This isn’t easily reversed and, whilst we can restore your teeth, it makes sense not to deliberately need to have this done!

The damage probably won’t stop there though. The thinner or damaged enamel from filing means that bacteria may now be able to enter into the dentin part of the tooth. Not only is this a softer material that can decay more easily, but also consists of hollow tubules which allow messages, including pain, to be sent to the brain. As anyone who has a severe toothache will attest, this is best avoided!

In short, please, please do not attempt to do anything with your teeth other than brush and floss them. Leave restorations and cosmetic improvements to the dentists at Blue Sky Dental who have had many years of training and experience at doing so and will not only do all they can to improve your teeth, but will also do so safely and with the minimum of discomfort.

Cosmetic dentistry

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Beautiful Teeth In Later Life? Here’s How At Blue Sky Dental….

How your Chelmsford dentists restore ageing teeth

Older people with great teethWhether this digital generation will do it or not, only time will tell, but some of us ‘not too oldies’ will still, from time to time, look at old photograph albums with friends and family and reminisce about the ‘old days’. Along with fond memories we will probably also laugh at some of the clothes we used to wear and the hairstyles we had.

There is also a reasonable chance that we will notice, but perhaps not mention, how much we have aged. One of the most noticeable changes, aside from hair loss, and especially in close up photos, is likely to be how much our teeth have changed. Teeth that were once so white and provided an attractive smile may now look the worse for wear, if they are even there at all!

We can’t regain our youth entirely, and some would argue that it is better to accept the age you are now, rather than hanker after ‘lost youth’. This doesn’t mean that we have to accept all aspects of ageing though and that includes the way that our teeth look. With cosmetic dental treatments improving all the time, it is now possible for you to have your smile restored at Blue Sky Dental.

Potential problems with older teeth

There are a number of things that can go wrong with our teeth as we get older. Many of us will already have had fillings because of tooth decay, and we may well have lost a tooth or two as well. In addition to this, there is the possibility of small chips and cracks on the teeth that people see when we smile.

If these problems seem insurmountable, they are not. In a relatively short period of time, we can help you have a fantastic looking smile once again. Treatments will vary from patient to patient of course, dependent on the issues involved. Below though, we look at a likely pathway to restoring teeth that have seen better days.

Oral health

Step one is always to make sure that you have a healthy mouth. There is little point in restoring your teeth if you have bad gum disease, for example. Any cavities will need to be filled and most patients will need to have their teeth and gums professionally cleaned by the hygienist at our Chelmsford dental clinic.

Once we are satisfied that we have done all we can to provide you with a healthy mouth, your treatment can begin.

Fillings

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Going To University? Make Sure To Look After Your Teeth!

Further education offers many opportunities, but can also be a challenging time for oral health

Dental Specialist in Chelmsford, EssexA-levels and University admissions have made the headlines in the last few days, for all the wrong reasons. Hopefully this will be sorted out soon and everyone who has the grades is able to go to their chosen location.

Going to University can be a real life changer in so many ways. In addition to furthering your education, enabling you to work in your chosen field, it also brings many opportunities to socialise and meet new friends and acquaintances.

It isn’t without its challenges though, finances and the stress of attaining the desired qualifications can take their toll on the student. In the process, this can lead to a number of dental problems as well.  Although we want you to have a good time and to get your qualifications, we don’t want this to be at the expense of your teeth and gums and our Chelmsford dentists at Blue Sky Dental offer some sage advice below.

The basics

The most obvious thing to say is that you should make sure to brush and floss your teeth every day. This may sound obvious but with the extra socialising, especially in the first year when you are getting to know people, and the stress of exams, it can be all too easy to neglect this. Decay and gum disease are more likely if you fail to do this and students may find that sore gums and toothache make studying that much more difficult. Basic good oral health care is not difficult to maintain and should be at the top of your list of ‘things to do’ each day.

Overdoing the partying

It’s probably the thing most parents dread about their children going to University. The thought that, out of sight, many of them will be partying quite a lot, especially in the earlier part of their stay. New friends, new experiences often come with a wide range of stimulants including alcohol and sometimes possibly drugs. We have mentioned before how alcohol can be very damaging to your teeth and gums. Our advice is to keep this in moderation and try to stay well hydrated too so that you avoid a dry mouth as far as possible. However much you have had to drink, do try to remember to clean your teeth before you go to bed.

Drugs are best avoided completely. Aside from the difficulty in knowing exactly what it is you are taking, and the strength, many non prescription (and some prescription) drugs can have a devastating effect on your teeth and gums, quite possibly resulting in tooth loss. Your general health could be at risk too and fatalities can also occur. It simply isn’t worth the risk.

Diet

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What Happens To Your Teeth When You Are Ill?

Chelmsford dentist, Bhavin Bhuva, explains some of the problems that can arise

Dr Bhavin Bhuva at Blue Sky DentalIn normal times, the majority of us will take fairly good care of our teeth. We will brush them both morning and night in an attempt to avoid tooth decay and the often accompanying toothache. This is a good start, although there is usually room for improvement; the addition of regular flossing being a good case in point for many folk.

What happens when we are ill though, and our normal routines are disrupted as we feel too ill to look after ourselves as we should? Even as we start to get better, we may find that we are still very tired as our bodies slowly recover and it could be some time before we return to our normal tooth friendly routine.

With the talk of a ‘second wave’ of the coronavirus and the fact that winter colds and flus are probably not as far away as some of us might wish, Blue Sky Dental have decided to take a look at the possible damage that our teeth can suffer during illness, so that our patients are forearmed with the relevant knowledge.

Dehydration

When we have a heavy cold or flu, we often sweat a lot and also sneezing is common as our bodies try to fight the virus. Although this is unpleasant, it does serve a purpose. Especially if we feel ill though, we may be reluctant to move from bed or the sofa to get a drink to rehydrate ourselves. Unfortunately, this will result in a dry mouth which, as we have noted before, provides a perfect breeding ground for the potentially harmful bacteria in our mouths. This could lead to both gum disease and tooth decay if allowed to continue.

Do try to have some water nearby so that you can have a drink without having to leave your sick bed. Although soft drinks may be tempting to give us some energy, these are best avoided due to their sugar content.

Vomiting

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Your Morning Tooth Care Regime – Getting It Right

Starting the day right helps to improve tooth and gum health

Woman brushing teethWhen our alarm clock goes off in the morning, making sure that we look after our teeth well is possibly the last thing on our mind, especially if we’ve hit the snooze button and are running late for work. This can be a stressful and hurried time of the day if we don’t leave enough time but it is also an important time for our teeth and gums.

There are a number of actions that we take, or don’t take, at this time of the day that can make a big difference to how healthy our mouth is.

Our Blue Sky Dental team offers a few insights into how a few small changes to our morning habits can have a positive impact on our oral health.

Start the day with water

This is a very simple thing that we can do to get the day off to a good start. Try to have a glass of water at your bedside and drink it when you first wake up. Many of us don’t drink enough water and doing this is a helpful start. Whilst your other morning liquid intake may consist of a pot of tea, it is worth considering that tea can be mildly diuretic and whilst initially refreshing, can also contribute to dehydration (and contribute to stained teeth!)

A word of caution here; some people encourage the addition of fresh lemon juice to the water. Whilst this offers some additional taste, it could lead to tooth damage as lemon juice is relatively acidic and potentially harmful to the enamel.

Teeth cleaning

You may think that because you haven’t eaten anything overnight, cleaning your teeth in the morning is an ‘optional extra’. This is far from the case though as bacterial deposits will have collected on your teeth and in the gum pockets whilst you slept. These bacteria are significant potential contributors to both tooth decay and gum disease and therefore, your morning brushing of the teeth is very important.

Should you brush before or after you have breakfast? There are a range of opinions on this but we feel that if you allow yourself plenty of time so that you can eat first and leave a little time for the enamel to harden afterwards, before brushing your teeth, that is probably ideal. You can then leave for work with clean teeth and gums. On the other hand, if you are a ‘rusher’ in the morning, it is probably better to brush before you eat to make sure that it is done and not forgotten because you are in too much of a hurry.

There is generally no need for our Chelmsford patients to floss in the morning as long as you do so before you go to bed, although if you wish to do so, it may be beneficial.

Your breakfast

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Could This Be Your Chance To Have Teeth Implants At Blue Sky Dental?

Has lockdown resulted in an unexpected opportunity?

Single dental implantAs we have mentioned in a number of our previous blogs, lockdown has been hard for a lot of people. It will have had negative effects which, for some, will unfortunately include financial problems.

For those who have managed to keep working during this time though, there have been fewer opportunities to spend our money, with shops, pubs and restaurants all closed. Many of you may have also had your holidays cancelled and may have decided to wait until next year before rebooking.

If you are in this situation, you might find yourself better off financially than you had expected to be. If you have been thinking about replacing the gap in your teeth, or a denture, with a dental implant, now might be a good time to contact our Chelmsford dental suite to discuss this.

Why not just have dentures?

A common response when a patient loses a tooth is to presume that if they want to replace the missing tooth, dentures are the option that most people choose. Whilst this was certainly once the case, although they are still widely used, many of you are now looking at the alternatives. It is true that modern dentures are much more natural looking and practical than older style ones. Some also offer a degree of flexibility of movement in the mouth which allows them to move as you talk and eat.

Dentures are certainly the most affordable option initially, and, in most cases, will not require any dental surgery. For many people though, they do not offer a level of comfort and ease of use that they would like. Even with the best dentures in the world, it is possible that they will move in the mouth, probably just at the time when you don’t want them to. Dentures are not ‘rooted’ in the mouth and simply ‘sit’ on top of the gums. Even with denture adhesive, their stability is not guaranteed, and eating, and sometimes even speaking, can lead to problems with their stability.

It is worth noting that, in addition to a ‘fiddly’ cleaning regime if you have dentures, they often require maintenance or even replacement and, although the initial outlay might be the cheapest option, this is not necessarily the case over the longer term.

Why dental implants?

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