Oral cancers can kill, but with care they are largely avoidable
Have you noticed that when you come to our Chelmsford dental practice for a check up, we don’t only examine your teeth but also take a look at the tongue and cheeks as well?
If you have and wondered why, it is because part of our front line role is in the detection of potential oral cancer symptoms.
These can vary and we are not cancer specialists and so can not diagnose whether this is the cause or not. Because we are in an excellent position to check your mouth regularly though, we are able to spot any unusual signs at an early stage.
If we see something that we can’t explain, such as lesions or lumps, we will refer you to your GP. Patients should not be overly concerned if we do this as it is purely a precautionary measure. In many cases, the symptom will have been caused by something fairly innocuous but if it does prove to be cancerous, the sooner treatment can start, the better.
What causes oral cancer?
There are a number of things which can contribute to mouth cancer but the main ones are the HPV virus which is usually sexually transmitted, and smoking. You can read a news report on the HPV link at Huffington Post.
The most common cause of oral cancer is still smoking, and by stopping this addictive habit, patients of Blue Sky Dental can expect to have a healthier mouth. Quitting smoking might sound easier said than done, but millions of people have stopped smoking over the last few years, spurred on by health and financial concerns, plus of course, the fact that you are now unable to smoke in places where it used to be most common, such as pubs.
Some people will be able to stop smoking with relative ease, but others are likely to find it more difficult due to the addictive nature of nicotine. It is worth seeking out a local support group that you can turn to when temptation arises. It might be hard, but ex smokers will tell you that it really is worth it.
How dangerous is mouth cancer?
Read more ›
If you have sensitive, decayed, damaged or severely discoloured teeth, our Chelmsford dentists can help!
A dental practice is not just a place to visit when you have a painful tooth. It should be somewhere that you visit on a regular basis so that your oral health can be monitored on an ongoing basis.
By doing this, many problems can be detected and treated whilst still at an early stage. If you haven’t maintained your visits, it is quite possible that you will have a number of problems that will eventually need to be addressed.
It is never too late to start though, and, at Blue Sky Dental, we have a range of treatments to help you.
Alongside the need for any minor fillings and a general professional clean of the teeth and gums, there may well be some more complex problems that will require treatment. If you haven’t been to see a dentist for some time, there is a reasonable chance that it was one of these problems that caused you to seek out help when the discomfort was no longer manageable.
Today, we will take a look at a couple of popular restorative treatments that we offer at our Chelmsford dental practice. These are tooth crowns and porcelain veneers.
A crown is widely used when a tooth has been damaged or where decay is too significant for a regular filling. They are also used as the final part of a root canal treatment. They offer two major benefits over fillings; they offer a greater level of strength and they also look entirely natural, not only in colour but also in shape.
Crowns are produced at a dental laboratory from impressions that we take of your teeth once we have prepared them to a shape suitable for a crown to be fitted. The preparation of the tooth is the only invasive part of the treatment and the newly prepared crown is attached using a clinical adhesive. As a crown can take a week or so to be produced, you will be fitted with a temporary crown to protect the tooth until your new one arrives back at our practice.
Crowns are both strong and long lasting. The adhesive may gradually lose some strength though after many years and there is a small chance that your crown may become detached. If this happens, you should never attempt to ‘glue’ it back on yourself and should contact us so that we can do this correctly.
Read more ›
Specialist periodontist, Navidah Chaudhary, reminds patients to take care of their gums
Whilst Covid restrictions have added quite a lot of complications for most business, please rest assured that we are doing all that we can to ensure that our Chelmsford patients have access to essential dental care. Hopefully, as the number of vaccinations given increases, we may soon be able to return to something like normality. In the meantime though, it is important that patients take on additional responsibility for looking after their oral health to the best of their ability.
One thing that should not be forgotten at any time, and especially in the current situation, is that your gum health is just as important as looking after your actual teeth. Indeed, failure to do so could even eventually lead to the loss of some of your teeth.
How healthy are your gums?
How do you know whether your gums are healthy or not? This is a good question but one that is relatively straightforward to answer.
In most cases, healthy gums shouldn’t be noticeable. That is to say that there should be no discomfort caused by them, they should also be a healthy pink colour which indicates that blood is flowing to them well enough. They should also be firm to the touch, with no associated discomfort when you touch them.
On the other hand, there are a number of possible signs which may indicate that all is not well with your gums and that you need to take action to restore their health. These include:
- Tenderness or soreness of the gums
- Inflammation of the gums
- Bleeding when you brush your teeth
- Receding gums
- Redness of the gums
- Wobbly or loose teeth
Not all, or even any of these may necessarily be present, even when you do have gum disease and you should always have them checked by the hygienist at Blue Sky Dental clinic on a regular basis. If any of these symptoms do appear though, you should make an appointment as soon as you can rather than wait for your scheduled one unless it is imminent.
Managing gum disease
Read more ›
Losing a number of teeth doesn’t mean that dentures are the only solution for our Chelmsford patients
In a perfect world, we would all have strong and healthy teeth. This would be achieved through excellent home cleaning, regular professional dental supervision and just a little bit of luck in avoiding accidents. For most of us though, this isn’t the reality.
Some of us will only arrive at the conclusion that we should have looked after our teeth better when we were younger, a little too late.
Few of us will avoid accidents altogether and some of these may, unfortunately, result in tooth loss. This applies especially if we play certain sports such as football or rugby.
Although some people may reach middle to older age with their teeth more or less fully intact, this will not be the case for everyone and a number of us are likely to have lost at least one or two teeth, and possibly even more.
When we lose a tooth, or a number of teeth, the first thought is often to turn to dentures. These are still one of the most common methods of replacing missing teeth and can provide a suitable solution for some. They can be problematic for some wearers though and whilst they now look more natural than was once the case, there are a number of relatively common issues that some wearers find. These include:
- Discomfort – One of the most common sources of discomfort when wearing dentures is that they can rub against the gums. This friction, especially if regular, can cause soreness and make wearing them uncomfortable, especially when eating. As losing a tooth or teeth will lead to bone loss in this area, this creates subtle changes in the shape of the jaw and this can cause your dentures to fit less well and move around, creating friction.
- Embarrassment – As dentures move around, they can become quite noticeable, and may even fall out altogether during a conversation. Although this is relatively rare, movement of your dentures can create some speech difficulties when you are speaking.
- Limiting – One thing that some wearers find is that they start to be more careful about what they eat, especially when they are dining out with others. They may well turn down the steak that they really want because it is more difficult to chew and opt for something that their dentures will handle more easily.
What are the alternatives?
Read more ›
As community stress levels increase, incidents of teeth grinding could also rise
As if the rapidly rising number of Covid-19 cases and deaths wasn’t enough to cause us stress, anyone watching the news last night must have wondered what is happening in the world as thousands of Trump supporters stormed Washington. Many of us will have probably been glued to our TVs for much of the night and are highly unlikely to have gone to bed in a relaxed manner.
Even in our own lives. There can be many things that cause us stress, and for some, the current lockdown situation will not be helping matters. Unfortunately, our Blue Sky Dental team can’t put the world to rights and fix the problems, but we can offer advice and help for one of the possible consequences in this increase in stress, namely Bruxism, or teeth grinding.
Bruxism largely occurs whilst we sleep and is therefore quite difficult to control. It is generally thought to be related to stress, so, in the current climate, it is probably not surprising that we are expecting to see an increase in the number of patients who are suffering from some of the consequences of this.
In today’s blog, we will take a look at some of the problems that may be associated with this and offer a few suggestions that might help in its prevention, or at least, reduction.
Effects of teeth grinding
Although we have come across a few fairly extreme cases of teeth that have shattered due to highly aggressive grinding; for most people the main problem is gradual wearing away of the enamel on our teeth. This, in itself, will weaken the teeth and does make them more likely to break. More common though are problems that present themselves more gradually.
Read more ›
Chelmsford prosthodontist, Hiten Pabari, looks ahead to the new year and offers some suggestions for dental related resolutions.
It is probably fair to say that the vast majority of us will be glad to see the back of 2020 and won’t be looking back on it with fond memories. It has been a difficult year for sure, and it may take a little time before 2021 sees things significantly improve.
Things do seem to be looking up however, with the availability of vaccines and, with a bit of patience, we should hopefully start to see life returning to some sort of normality some time next year.
As this will probably be our last Blue Sky Dental blog post of the year, we thought that we would look at some potential new year resolutions that you might like to make, both to help you have a healthy mouth, but also some suggestions for ways that you might wish to improve your smile, ready for those better times to come.
Pay more attention to your oral health
Our first suggestion is to really have a think about how you clean and look after your teeth at the moment and how you can improve on it. This might seem basic but a good cleaning and care regime are the foundations on which healthy and attractive teeth are built.
The following are our often repeated tips to maximise this:
- Use a brush no more than 3 months old (or brush head if electric)
- Angle the bristles so they reach beneath the gums
- Use a fluoride toothpaste
- Brush for 2 minutes gently and don’t ‘scrub’ them
- Make sure to try to get at the back of the rear teeth. Much decay starts here
- Spit but don’t rinse. This allows the fluoride to protect your teeth more
- Use dental floss. There are plenty of instructional videos to help. This will greatly benefit your teeth and gums
Smokers are at a much higher risk of not only gum disease, but oral cancer too. We understand that now may not be the easiest time to stop, but the sooner you stop, the better it will be. If you really can’t stop now because of the current situation, decide on a date in the future and work towards that. You may find it helpful to find a local support group to help you stop smoking.
See your dentist
Read more ›
Chelmsford dentist, Bhavin Bhuna, looks at recent articles suggesting yearly check-ups are sufficient
With 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.
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.
Read more ›
There may be some challenging months ahead but a whiter smile can make you feel better about yourself!
As 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.
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?
Read more ›
Dental care for our Chelmsford patients during the latest Covid-19 restrictions
We 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?
Read more ›
Our friendly local dentists can help you have a nicer smile with safe, appropriate teeth straightening treatment
Many 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
Read more ›