Festive Fun – Your 2021 Annual Dental Quiz

How much have you learned from this year’s Blue Sky Dental blogs? Let’s find out….

Blue Sky Dental in ChelmsfordAs we approach the end of the year and reflect, we can see that it has been another difficult one for many of us and we are sure that most of you will be keeping your fingers crossed for a more normal Christmas ahead. As a lighthearted, but educational, way to end the year then, we thought that we would offer you a little quiz based on the blogs that we have posted this year.

Before you do this quiz though, we would like to thank you all for your custom and readership throughout the year and hope to see you all in the new year for your check ups and any cosmetic treatments we can offer to give your smile a boost for the new year.

Whilst we are talking about the festive period, please note that you can still call us for an emergency dental appointment if you need one. If we are closed, as we will be for some of this period, you will be able to access an answerphone message detailing what you need to do next to receive treatment. Should you need to contact us for an emergency appointment, you can call Blue Sky Dental on our usual number of 01245 211070.

Without further ado then, here are the questions (please scroll down for the answers):

  • What is ‘bruxism’ and what are its possible causes?
  • What does an ‘endodontist’ do?
  • Why might a diabetic patient be at a higher risk of dental problems than a non diabetic?
  • What causes sensitive teeth?
  • What is an ‘all on 4’ procedure?
  • Name the type of filling that is used during a root canal procedure
  • A teeth whitening procedure is the most common way to improve the appearance of a stained tooth. Name another treatment that is also used, especially in more severe cases
  • Name 3 benefits of using the popular ‘Invisalign’ orthodontic system

Answers

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Ten Beneficial Things To Help Care For Your Teeth

Looking after your teeth well doesn’t have to be expensive says Chelmsford dentist, Dr Simon Stern

white teeth and dental mirrorModern dental care is an amazing thing. Many people now manage to keep, if not all, then the vast majority of their teeth right throughout their life. Some of this is down to better education about what causes harm to teeth and some is due to treatments that are now widely available.

At the Blue Sky Dental practice, we pride ourselves in offering a comprehensive and caring service that covers everything from preventive dentistry through to complex treatments like implants for those who have already lost their teeth.

Professional dental care is important, but patients can also do a lot to help. Diligent, routine daily care of our teeth and gums provides the best chance of avoiding the need for invasive treatments further down the line. With this in mind, let us take a look at some of the relatively simple things that you can do to give your oral health the best chance possible.

Use the right tools – Any tradesman, sportsman or musician will tell you that whilst skill is a major factor, things work better when you have the best equipment that you can afford. This also applies to your dental care. Trying to eke out the longevity of your toothbrush is a false economy as once the bristles become worn, your teeth and gums will no longer be cleaned properly. Always make sure that the bristles on your toothbrush are still healthy, and change your brush every three months or so. The same applies to the head of electric toothbrushes too.

Don’t smoke – We have said this before and we will never tire of saying it. Smoking is one of the worst things that you can do for your oral health. In addition to any staining of the tooth enamel it causes, it is a leading cause of both gum disease and oral cancer. Smoking is a dangerous and expensive habit and you should seek help to quit as soon as you can.

Use dental floss – Many of our Chelmsford patients tell us that they find using floss tricky. Thankfully, with a little perseverance, you will soon find that you can do this quickly and effectively. Floss is a cheap and effective way of removing bacteria and food debris from between the teeth. It is in these areas that a brush often can’t reach and that problems like gingivitis and tooth decay often start. Make sure to add the use of floss to your daily routine if you don’t already do so.

Reduce the sugar – It might be nearly impossible to do away with sugar entirely but even reducing your intake will help to keep your mouth healthy, as well as probably keeping a few inches off the waistline. Unfortunately, sugar is everywhere and simply cutting down sugar in your tea and coffee may not make much difference. Try to adopt a healthier diet, cutting out foods that contain high amounts of sugar and eat fresher, sugar free food where possible.

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Online Cosmetic Dentistry – The Risks?

More and more cosmetic dental products are being advertised widely online, but how effective, and safe, are they?

Wondering about tooth careAs with almost any topic, if you search online, you are sure to find answers to any query that you have. The problem with this, as many of you will know, is that it can be difficult to know whether the answer is true or not.

This can happen when you are looking for ways to improve your smile too. There are quite a few ‘dodgy’ suggestions for whitening your teeth for example. Few of these will work particularly well, and where they do, damage to your teeth is a real possibility.

It isn’t just the DIY dental tips that patients find though, but targeted adverts from a growing ‘virtual’ dental industry. These don’t offer tips so much as sell products that are supposedly the equivalent of those that you would find at Blue Sky Dental and other cosmetic dental practices. As these advertised products are often cheaper, some of our Chelmsford patients might be tempted to try them. We feel, however, that it is important that you are aware of the potential risks involved if you do.

Before we look at some of these products, we should say that we don’t believe that any of these companies set out to deliberately cause problems, and the products may work for some. The fact that you probably just watch a video and then buy the product though, does mean that there may be certain risks involved and it is worth considering all of the issues before you step in.

Teeth whitening

One of the most popular cosmetic dental treatments is teeth whitening. This is probably no surprise as most of us will find that our teeth darken as we become older due to the inner dentin part of our teeth losing its brightness with age.

On the surface of things, having whiter teeth should be easy, except it isn’t. Many of the products that are offered online to whiten your teeth come in the form of powders or pastes that you use instead of, or in addition to, your usual toothpaste. This might sound relatively harmless, but in order to remove surface staining from your teeth, these often contain abrasive elements that are designed to ‘scrub’ away any residual staining from the tooth surface. Whilst it might largely achieve that, it can also lead to damage to the enamel if you use it over-zealously, increasing your risk of tooth decay and sensitive teeth.

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Oral Health Awareness For Asthmatics

Some common health issues can negatively impact your teeth and gums. Asthma is one of them….

Teeth cleaningAsthma is a growing problem in the UK and worldwide. Factors such as the increasing amount of pollution have almost certainly contributed to this. For most people, it is a reasonably manageable condition, although for others it can potentially be more dangerous.

With more than 10% of the UK population being diagnosed with asthma, and probably additional ones that haven’t, it is worth taking a look at what effect this common medical issue can have on our oral health.

As with any other practice in the UK, Blue Sky Dental will have its fair share of patients who suffer from asthma. We strongly believe that preventative oral care is essential and today’s blog takes a look at some of the things that our asthmatic Chelmsford patients need to be aware of and how they can minimise the oral health effects of this problem.

Dry mouth/gum disease

Because of the difficulty in breathing that asthma can cause, many asthma sufferers have a tendency to breathe through their mouth instead of their nose. This often results in them having a dryer mouth as the air passes through the mouth. As we know from some of our previous blogs, a dry mouth provides an ideal condition for potentially harmful bacteria to thrive, sometimes leading to gum disease. Whilst this can often be managed through better home care and professional cleaning if caught early, it can eventually lead to loose teeth and even tooth loss if intervention does not happen quickly enough.

If you breathe through your mouth, do try to make sure that you stay well hydrated by drinking enough water and also see a hygienist every six months at our Chelmsford dental practice.

Enamel erosion

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Pregnancy And Your Oral Health

Expecting a child should be a joyous occasion but it can present certain dental issues

Dental Specialist in Chelmsford, EssexFor many people, having a child is one of the highlights of their life. Despite the trials and tribulations it can bring along the way, few would wish to turn the clocks back to before their child was born.

The experience of pregnancy itself seems to vary from person to person, with some revelling in it whilst others find it a struggle most of the way through.

Issues like morning sickness and constipation are well known, but it is a less well known fact that being pregnant can present a number of challenges to your oral health. Most of these can be reduced with a little information and a little more care. For the benefit of any of our Chelmsford patients who might be expecting, here are a few useful tips from our Blue Sky Dental team.

Gum disease

One of the most common oral health problems that women experience when pregnant is that of gum disease. This is often caused by the change in hormones due to the pregnancy. This is a concern as, if gum disease is allowed to advance, it can lead to eventual tooth loss. There is also a concern that people with gum disease can go on to develop serious health problems such as heart disease. There is also some debate as to whether gum disease can be harmful to the unborn child. Whilst research is still ongoing, results have so far been inconclusive. That said, it is better to be safe than sorry and healthy gums are desirable anyway.

Do make sure to take good care of your gums when you are pregnant, and also when you are not of course. Good brushing, flossing and general awareness will all help. You might also wish to consider additional professional cleans by our Chelmsford dental hygienist to help you keep on top of it during your pregnancy.

Enamel erosion

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Chipped A Tooth? Here’s What You Should Do

Why our Chelmsford patients should not ignore this sometimes seemingly small dental issue

Damaged toothThere are some dental issues which we know patients might be tempted to ignore, rather than have it checked out by a dentist. Chipping a tooth is one of these. On the surface of it, it might seem like little more than a minor inconvenience but it can have repercussions which can affect the health of that tooth, often over a period of time.

It is likely that some people see a tooth as a single block of material, rather as they might see a fingernail, for example. A tooth however, is a complex structure and even relatively minor damage can have a significant impact on it. In today’s blog, the Blue Sky Dental team takes a look at what you should do if you have, or suspect you have, chipped a tooth.

What you shouldn’t do

Perhaps most importantly, you shouldn’t ignore any damage to your teeth, no matter how irrelevant you might think it is. Always contact your local Chelmsford dental practice and arrange an appointment to have the tooth checked out. It may well be that no treatment will be needed, but only a dentist can examine the tooth in detail and make that decision.

Don’t prevaricate

“Oh .. it’s just a little chip”. How often have we told ourselves that when we have bitten down on something and felt a tooth break before feeling it with our tongue and realising that only a small piece has broken off?  Even if you decide to see a dentist to have it checked out, it might seem like one of those things that you can do ‘when you have time’.  Depending on the nature of the damage though, the tooth may have become compromised and delaying your dental visit could cause the chip to weaken the tooth, leading to more of it breaking away and exposing the more vulnerable dentin layer beneath the enamel. When this happens, tooth decay can occur, as can a root canal infection that will require more invasive dental services.

Treatment options

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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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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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