Versatile teeth whitening treatments

As you go about your daily business, it’s worth looking at other people’s smiles and getting an idea of what are the accepted norms for smiles these days. You will notice that amongst people under the age of about 40, it’s very important to have straight, well proportioned, white teeth. People are spending more on their smiles than ever before, and the most popular treatment of all is teeth whitening.

Teeth Whitening in SuttonHere at Benhill Dental Practice in Sutton, we see more and more people coming in for teeth whitening treatment. It’s a great way of giving your smile a lift without having to go through lengthy and costly treatments. So, if you know you need to have a great smile for an upcoming event, you may well choose to get your teeth whitened, and there are 2 ways in which you can do this with us at Benhill Dental Practice.

How does teeth whitening work?

The treatment aims to gently lift out traces of pigments from various foods and drinks, such as coffee, red wine and dark chocolate. These get trapped in the pore of your tooth enamel and brushing can’t dislodge them, neither can a good clean with the hygienist.

Teeth whitening gel contains hydrogen peroxide, a tried and trusted whitener and disinfectant that has been around for a couple of hundred years. It comes in different strengths, depending on what it’s being used for.

We also use it in different strengths at the dental practice.

Power whitening

We use a stronger concentration of hydrogen peroxide for whitening treatments that we can oversee in the clinic. Power whitening gel is painted onto your teeth and takes about an hour to whiten your teeth by several shades.

At-home whitening

Using bespoke gel trays and a weaker gel, you whiten your teeth at home over a couple of weeks. You put the gel in the bespoke trays and wear them every day for a short period.

Both methods have their advantages. One is quick and can be done in your lunch hour. The second gives you trays that you can use every time you need to top up your treatment.

H is for hygiene

Are you a good dental patient? Do you come in every 6 months for a check-up and a session with the hygienist, and, as you leave, book yourself in for more of the same in another 6 months’ time? Or are you a bit more slapdash? Do you put off making appointments, forget to turn up, cancel a few days before, and somehow not come to see us twice a year, but more like once a year, or maybe even every 2 years?

Dental Hygiene in SuttonThere’s a reason why dentists want their patients to come in every 6 months for check-ups. This is how long the early stages of decay and gum disease take to develop, and we can still spot them and deal with them before they become more serious.

If you are good about check-ups and cleanings, you will know how much we, at Benhill Dental Practice in Sutton, go on about dental hygiene. Dental hygiene is the foundation of all good dental care.

You only get one set of adult teeth, and if you’d like to live until you are 80, these teeth are going to have to last you more than 70 years. That’s a very long time.

Natural teeth are very good at chewing things into a paste that can be well digested. Some of the replacement teeth on offer are not so good. So, as your dentist, we would far rather you practised good dental hygiene and hung onto your natural teeth than go down the route of replacement teeth.

How to practise good dental hygiene

It’s pretty simple. You need to brush your teeth for 2 minutes twice a day using a soft-bristled brush and fluoride toothpaste. One way to make sure you do the full 2 minutes is to use an electric toothbrush with a timer on it. It vibrates at 4 30-second intervals, so you can work round your mouth very thoroughly.

Don’t forget to back up your tooth brushing with a daily flossing session to remove plaque from between your teeth and under the edges of the gums. If you are older, you may also need interdental brushes to remove trapped food from between your teeth, especially at the back.

And now a tax on vaping too

Many people have managed their nicotine and smoke addiction by moving from now super-expensive tobacco to cheaper vaping syrups. But at the end of October budget, the chancellor, Phillip Hammond, decided to tax vaping as well.

Smoking Cessation in SuttonMaybe that’s a good thing. Vaping was once thought to be pretty harmless, but research shows that it causes a nasty condition called popcorn lung. Also vape syrups are full of sugar, just as most tobaccos are. Sugar is now not classed as just empty calories, but the driver behind the nation’s diabetes crisis. So, even if you are super careful about not eating sugar, if you smoke or vape, you are still getting a pretty substantial sugar hit every time you indulge.

Smoking is really bad for your teeth and mouth, and vaping, with all that sugar, isn’t exactly great either. If you want to hang onto your teeth, and avoid gum disease and other nasties such as oral cancer, then maybe now is the time to stop the whole nicotine merry-go-round and get some help with smoking cessation from us at Benhill Dental Practice in Sutton.

If you’d like to know more about what smoking does to your mouth, we’d be more than happy to tell you. We can also support you with giving up smoking.

Smoking and mouth cancer

Let’s be clear, smoking is the main cause of mouth cancer. And if you drink alcohol when you smoke, you are even more likely to get mouth cancer. Mouth cancer is caused by changes in the cells in the mouth, which then start grow out of control. Carcinogens get into the cells when you smoke, and get in even more easily when they have been dissolved into alcohol if you are smoking and drinking.

You are likely to develop mouth cancer in your 50s and 60s and early 70s. Tumours can grow on any soft tissue in your mouth, and also in your head and neck. Mouth cancer screenings can check for tumours in just a few minutes. Treated early, mouth cancer is easily dealt with, either with surgery or other therapies.

Don’t let your phobia ruin your teeth

The trouble with being scared of the dentist is that you don’t go to the dentist. If you suffer from dental phobia in Sutton, you are not alone. It is estimated that about 13% of people worldwide have a proper phobia of going to the dentist. This isn’t just being a bit nervous about what might happen at the dentist, but having full blown extreme anxiety, with sweats and trembling.

Dental Phobia in SuttonDental phobia is so bad for some sufferers that they just can’t face going to the dentist. Even if they make it as far as getting an appointment, they probably won’t turn up for it. And repeatedly being unable to actually get yourself across the threshold of the practice, can lead to a terrible shame about yourself building up. Along with that shame goes the increased likelihood of decay and gum disease. Cavities don’t get seen to, and they get worse. Untreated gum disease can lead to bad breath, and wobbly teeth. The conditions inside your mouth can deteriorate to the point that you can’t face showing it to the dentist for fear of what they might say. When you do finally come along, maybe because the pain you’ve been suffering for months has finally become unbearable, you have teeth extracted that could have just had a tiny filling a few months back. You have to go for intense gum treatment when, last year, a scale and polish with the hygienist would be sorted you out. Now you need replacement teeth and months of 0% finance to cover the costs of treatment.

If you suffer from dental phobia, don’t let this happen to you. Come to us at Benhill Dental Practice, where we know all about dental phobia and can treat you in a compassionate, non-judgemental manner. We won’t just stick you in the chair and let you get on with it, we will want to know all about what makes you scared and what we can do to make you less frightened, whether it be frequent breaks with signals agreed beforehand, and/or sedation. We will find a way to make treatment easier for you.

Get rid of the glint

What is your reaction when someone you know throws back their head to laugh and you see rows of grey fillings in their mouth? Perhaps you think ‘Blimey, they ate a lot of sweets when they were a kid’. Maybe you feel quite glad you don’t have to kiss them. Maybe you think about your own grey metal fillings and wonder if they are so obvious too.

Silver to White Fillings in SuttonThat’s the trouble with amalgam fillings. They give the game away. Every sweet, every night you didn’t brush your teeth as a kid is emblazoned on your molars, maybe even your front teeth too, for everyone to see for all eternity. Or are they? Have you ever thought about going from silver to white fillings in Sutton?

Here at Benhill Dental Practice, we can change your old amalgam fillings for tooth-coloured composite resin fillings, and they will be just as good, if not better.

Durable

It is true that when white fillings came on the market a couple of decades ago, they weren’t as strong as amalgam fillings, but those days are gone and now white fillings are just as durable as silver ones.

Bonded

As well as that, white fillings bond with your tooth. Amalgam, on the other hand, is packed into the cavity as tightly as possible, but there is still a tiny gap around the edge into which decay-causing bacteria can sneak, especially as the filling ages.

Stronger teeth

We don’t have to remove as much healthy tooth material when we put in white fillings. This means that more of your tooth structure is intact, making it stronger.

Sculptable

White fillings are put in in layers and then cured hard with a UV light. Once the layers have been built up, we can use tools to sculpt them and give you back your chewing surfaces. We can’t do this with silver fillings, which lie flat within the tooth.

We can either replace your amalgam fillings in a safe procedure, all in one go, or we can do them one at a time as the old fillings age and crack.

Ask us about white fillings next time you come in for a check-up.

White teeth can be yours

Have you noticed how nearly everyone has wonderful white teeth in Sutton these days? How can that be? Are they just lucky or have they been coming to us at Benhill Dental Practice for a bit of help? We think it’s probably the latter.

There are 3 ways you can get white teeth. You can have teeth whitening, veneers or composite bonding, or you can have white fillings.

White Teeth in SuttonTeeth whitening

Modern foods and drinks can stain teeth. If you are a big coffee, tea, red wine or berry fan, or if you smoke, then each of these things will be leave tiny traces of their pigments on your teeth and those traces sink down into the pores of the tooth enamel and become impossible to get out with normal brushing and even with a scale and polish from the hygienist. But teeth whitening treatments can remove these surface stains.

We offer 2 methods of teeth whitening here. You can have power whitening, which takes an hour or so in the dentist’s chair to get teeth several shades lighter. You can also have a take-home kit, with bespoke gel trays. This is a gentler method and takes a couple of weeks to get whiter teeth.

Veneers and composite bonding

Sometimes we can’t whiten your teeth because the stains are not intrinsic to the tooth. Instead we can cover them over with porcelain veneers or composite bonding.

White fillings

Amalgam fillings show up dark glinty grey when you laugh and talk. They are a dead giveaway of previous dental decay and don’t look great. We can replace them, either all at once, or when the old amalgam wears out, using composite, a mixture of plastic and glass that is coloured to match your teeth. Composite fillings blend in with your teeth, and have other benefits too. They require the removal of less healthy tooth material and form a proper seal with the tooth. Composite fillings can be sculpted to give you a proper chewing surface.

Why not come in and find out more about how we can help you get the white teeth that everyone else seems to have.

Creating good habits for a lifetime

The thing with teeth is that we evolved to have one set that would last us for a lifetime. That was back when our diets had way less sugar in them. These days it’s hard to get away from sugar, and without a good oral hygiene routine, we are in as much danger as ever from tooth decay, especially as children.

Oral Hygiene in SuttonSugary drinks, sugary snacks, even snacks such as raisins, all feed the bacteria in our mouths that give off acids that destroy tooth enamel. That’s why decay in children is on the up. According to government statistics 25% of five-year-olds suffer from tooth decay, with three or four of their teeth in trouble. And in 2012-2013, tooth decay was the most common reason for 5–9-year-olds going into hospital. In 2014-15, over 63,000 children aged up to 19 went into hospital to have teeth removed. 63,000! That’s so many. And that’s why we are very hot on teaching our young patients how to develop a really good oral hygiene routine.

Meet Debbie

Here at Benhill Dental Practice in Sutton, our hygienist is Debbie. She knows that getting a good brushing technique takes time and that kids often have far better things to do than brush their teeth. Debbie was nominated for Hygienist of the Year in 2008 after starting Toothy Pegs Club in 2007. Debbie ran the club in schools as well as bringing it into Benhill Dental Practice.

Teeth with character

Debbie has got kids to love their teeth by giving each kind of tooth a character of their own. From ladylike Nibbles the Incisor, who loves minty toothpaste, to Grinder the Molar, who loves to use disclosing tablets before he brushes his teeth, the characters teach children how to brush their teeth and helps anxious kids get over any fears of the dentist. It’s free to all children; you don’t have to be a member of the practice. The club even does puppet shows, which go down a storm with children.

Toothy Pegs Club is a fun way to give your kids a good grounding in oral hygiene. Come along and join the fun!

Common dental issues and how your dentist can help

Looking after your teeth should be a top priority. You only get one adult set and replacing them with effective prosthetics is often a lengthy and costly business. Even if you are not at risk of tooth loss, there are some common problems that can occur with your teeth and gums that are unpleasant and best either avoided or treated as soon as possible. Fortunately, your dentist and the team at Benhill Dental Practice are standing by with advice, treatment and preventive measures to help you experience top quality oral health.

Sensitive Teeth in SuttonSome of the common issues that we see and help patients address all the time are discussed below.

Sensitive teeth

More than half of the adult population of the UK experience sensitive teeth at some point during their lives. This is where pain occurs when someone is eating or drinking. Usually, sensitive teeth are stimulated by extremes of temperature. If you are experiencing sensitive teeth in Sutton, your dentist can take a look at your teeth and ask you questions about your dental routine in order to offer you advice. Most problems with sensitive teeth can be address with a thorough clean and regular brushing with a specialist tooth paste.

Bad breath

Persistent bad breath is not great for you or your social life. It can lead to a loss of confidence and, often, it is a sign of a more serious issue with your teeth. Unless the cause can be traced back to something you have eaten or some health conditions, bad breath is often caused by gum disease. Along with a bad taste in the mouth, it is one of the symptoms of this type of infection. If gum disease is left untreated, it can cause damage to the gums and teeth and, eventually, it can cause tooth loss.

Tartar

Tartar is a hard substance that builds up on the teeth over time. Even with regular brushing, it’s still possible to get some build up of tartar. A regular scale and polish at the dentist will remove it. This is advisable because tartar can cause other issues, such as gum disease, and it cannot be removed by brushing alone.

The key to healthy gums

It’s easy to focus on your teeth when you think of visiting the dentist at Benhill Dental Practice. Looking after your gums should form an important part of your oral health strategy. They are the foundation of your teeth and the source of one of the most common dental problems in adults – gum disease.

Healthy Gums in SuttonWhat should healthy gums look like?

Healthy gums in Sutton are pink, firm and flush with the teeth. Your dentist at Benhill Dental Practice will do a visual check during your regular appointments but this is also something you should do at home. If you see any lumps, dark patches, inflammation or experience any soreness this may be something you need to address with an interim visit to the clinic. If you detect any of these issues and they do not go away within a week or two, give us a call to make an appointment.

Signs of gum disease

Be on the lookout for signs of gum disease at all times. These include:

  • Bleeding gums – this is one of the most common symptoms. Many people think that bleeding gums are normal because they are so common. If you persistently see blood when you are brushing your teeth, let your dentist know so that they can give you advice on reducing the risk of advanced gum disease;
  • Bad breath or a nasty taste – everyone experiences a bit of a strange taste or smell from their mouth from time to time but if it’s day after day, quite bitter and seemingly unrelated to things you have consumed, gum disease could be the cause;
  • Receding gums – this is where the gum line seems to be pulling away from the teeth. It’s worth taking a look online at pictures of healthy gums versus receding gums so you have a basis for comparison. Your dentist will check this for you as well when you visit Benhill Dental Practice.

Extra care

Your oral care is always important but if you use dentures or have dental implants or any other special equipment, you need to remember to take extra care of your gums. This will keep your mouth healthy but will also ensure that you have fresh breath and a bright smile.

Do you experience dental phobia?

If you are scared of going to the dentist, you can take comfort in the fact that about 13% of the world’s population suffer from dental phobia. Dental phobia is a spectrum, just like so many things these days. It’s probably fair to say that most of us feel a bit nervous about going to the dentist, but for some nervous patients that can tip over into downright terror, with the sweats, trembling and shortness of breath.

Nervous Patients in SuttonSometimes this phobia of the dentist has been formed by a terrible experience in the past, or it may have been passed down to us from parents who were also terrified of the dentist. However the fear has come about, these days, the dentistry profession recognises that it can play a part in making visits to the dentist a whole lot easier and more relaxing than they used to be.

Here at Benhill Dental Practice, our staff have all had years of experience in treating nervous patients in Sutton. We are not big fans of sedation. This is because we believe that modern dentistry is now so good that all great treatments are practically pain-free and any pain in complex procedures can be dealt with using a local anaesthetic. Of course, if we do give you a local anaesthetic, we will allow the time to make sure you are properly numb before we begin treatment.

Aside from that, we take a very gentle, caring approach to relax you during treatment in the calm and relaxing environment of our dental surgery in Sutton.

We are also firm believers in preventive dentistry rather than curative dentistry. If you come for regular check-ups and carry out a diligent oral hygiene routine at home, your teeth need never get so bad that you need to have painful, lengthy treatments for infections, or have to have teeth removed and replaced.

If you are a nervous patient, be sure to let us know so that we can talk to you about your worries and work with you to create a safe environment for you during your treatment with us.