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.

All you need to know about dental veneers in Sutton

If you have been wanting a smile makeover, but you are reluctant to commit to invasive treatments such as dental implants, then you may want to consider dental veneers. Veneers are not an ideal treatment for everyone; however, if you are a good candidate, they can provide a beautiful and natural smile.

At Benhill Dental Practice, veneers are used to correct a wide variety of dental issues, including gapped, misshapen, slightly crooked, permanently stained, chipped and cracked teeth. Our experienced cosmetic dentists will examine your teeth thoroughly and help you decide if you are a good candidate for this treatment.

Veneers in SuttonWhat are dental veneers and what can they achieve?

Veneers are very thin shells attached to the front of the teeth to provide an enhanced appearance. Each veneer is uniquely crafted for each patient. Veneers can be made from porcelain or composite material and both materials resemble the appearance and strength of natural tooth enamel.

For uniform results and a natural appearance, your dentist will match the shade of your veneers to your natural teeth. For severely discoloured teeth, we can create veneers in a lighter shade to provide a brighter smile.

Your cosmetic dentist will take many factors into consideration when choosing the perfect shade for your veneers and these include the shape of your teeth, your skintone as well as your lip line and other facial contours.

How are dental veneers applied?

Veneers are not a lengthy dental treatment and can be completed in a few appointments. During your first visit, our cosmetic dentist will prepare your teeth by removing a thin layer of enamel. This step is essential for helping the veneer to stay in place when applied to the tooth. If there are signs of tooth decay or gum disease, our dentist will treat them before moving to the next stage.

Next, we will use a shade guide and other criteria to determine the best colour for your veneer. Your dentist will then take impressions of your tooth or teeth. Once your veneers are created, you will return to the dental practice for the final stage of the procedure – the bonding of the veneer onto your tooth.

Get your white teeth back

How do you feel when you are with someone and they throw back their head for a really good laugh and show you all their fillings, neatly lined up in a dark glinting row of grey? Don’t you feel just a tiny bit icky when you see how many they’ve got? Maybe you have as many too and people are feeling a bit icky when you laugh. Or maybe, and even worse, you don’t laugh as loudly and satisfyingly as you’d like to because you are conscious of your many fillings.

Well, don’t despair, it’s possible to get those old metal ones replaced with white fillings in Sutton, here with us at Benhill Dental Practice.

White Fillings in SuttonWe love white fillings

Controversy over the mercury content of amalgam fillings aside, white fillings have gotten so much better over the last couple of decades. The composite materials from which they are made are so much stronger than they used to be and so your fillings will last a lot longer than white fillings used to.

Stronger teeth

As will your teeth, because one great thing we love about white fillings is that in order to put one in, we don’t have to remove anywhere near as much healthy tooth material as we do with amalgam fillings. This may not matter so much if yours is a small filling, but if it’s a big one, you need to hang onto your healthy tooth material so that the sides of the tooth remain strong and able to withstand the powerful forces created by chewing.

Better protection against decay

The other great thing, from our point of view, about white fillings is that the material actually bonds with your teeth. There is nowhere round the edges of the filling that bacteria can sneak in and start the decay process all over again under the filling. Amalgam, on the other hand, can be tightly packed into the tooth, but it cannot bond with it. That means that there is a miniscule gap between the tooth and the filling and over time, bacteria can get in to cause decay.

Enhance your smile with professional teeth whitening in Sutton

Did you know that our teeth naturally darken as we age? Furthermore, certain foods, beverages and habits can contribute to a stained smile. Luckily, it is possible to erase years of discolouration in a single visit to the dentist. Professional teeth whitening in Sutton offers a quick, effective and inexpensive way to brighten your teeth by several shades.

Teeth Whitening in SuttonAt Benhill Dental Practice, we deliver two types of teeth whitening – power whitening and home whitening. Both methods are safe and effective. Our experienced dentists will examine your teeth thoroughly and help you decide which treatment suits your individual needs. Some patients, such as those who are pregnant or sensitive to whitening agents, may not be candidates for professional whitening in Sutton.

What causes tooth discolouration?

Our teeth start out white and shiny, but can become discoloured as we age. However, some people are genetically predisposed to yellow teeth. Common causes of tooth discolouration include caffeine, carbonated drinks and tobacco products. Soy sauce and other highly-pigmented, dark-coloured dressings can also cause tooth discolouration. Last but not least, some medications are also responsible for yellow and stained teeth.

How can your dentist brighten your smile?

Professional teeth whitening consists of a thorough cleaning and polishing of the teeth with a special bleaching agent. If you decide to have your teeth whitened at our dental practice, your dentist will protect your gums before applying a whitening agent to the surface of your teeth. The product will be activated with a power light and left on the teeth for several minutes before being washed off with water. Your results will vary according to the natural shade of your teeth and degree of discolouration.

Home teeth whitening, on the other hand, involves wearing a set of customised, plastic trays along with bleaching gels for a few hours every day. One of the most convenient things about teeth whitening trays is that you can whiten your teeth over time, until you reach the ideal colour. More importantly, the application process can fit into your daily schedule and does not require frequent dental appointments.

To learn more about teeth whitening in Sutton, contact us today.

Why clean teeth matter

Apart from making you more kissable, why is dental hygiene so important? Do you really need to come to the dentist for a check-up twice a year and see the hygienist? Or are you paying for nothing?

Well, in a way, at Benhill Dental Practice, we hope you are. You see we think that a good check-up is a check-up that gives you the information that your dental hygiene in Sutton is working.

Dental Hygiene in SuttonThese days good dentistry aims to have you keep your teeth for life. And the only way to do that is to have a good dental hygiene routine. If you carefully brush your teeth with a good toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste twice a day, if you floss between your teeth to remove stuck food, and maybe use a mouthwash too, you stand a good chance of hanging onto your teeth.

If you don’t, chances are you’ll lose them to decay or gum disease. When you clean your teeth, you are trying to remove the sticky film of bacteria called plaque that builds up on them throughout the day.

Plaque and tooth decay

These bacteria are harmless in themselves, but as they feed on the sugars in your mouth from food and drinks (beware the sugary soda drinks), they give off acids.

These acids can eat into your tooth enamel, creating tiny holes through which more bacteria can sneak in. They then start decaying your tooth. You won’t feel it happening until it’s serious, but a dental check-up is there to spot the decay in its early stages and stop it getting so bad that you could even have to have root canal therapy or an extraction.

Plaque and gum disease

When plaque builds up along the gum line, the acids irritate and inflame the gum, and can pull it away from the tooth, creating pockets. More bacteria can get in here and then the acids can start to attack the bone. In this advanced stage of gum disease, the teeth can become loose and even fall out.

Regular check-ups and professional cleanings can keep plaque in check.

It’s time to quit

Deciding to stop smoking is probably one of the best decisions you can make for your health, and your dentist can increase your chances of success hugely. With the help of your dentist in Sutton, smoking cessation will play a key role in protecting your oral and overall health.

At Benhill Dental Practice, our dentists help patients quit smoking by offering personal support and encouragement. Our dentists can also prescribe stop-smoking medications where helpful, and will happily explain the oral and overall health benefits of quitting smoking as soon as possible.

Smoking Cessation in SuttonCan I do it alone?

It may come as a surprise to hear, but four out of 10 smokers will attempt to quit their smoking habit during the course of a year, but the withdrawal symptoms of nicotine can be so severe that many will fail on their first attempt and will return to their previous smoking habits.

Nicotine addiction involves both psychological and physical factors. This means that smoking cessation intervention will require a systematic approach in order to succeed. This involves assessing our patients’ readiness, motivating their health behaviour changes and developing a co-operative treatment plan.

How can a dentist help?

We believe our dentists are in a unique position to intervene early on because they can literally see the damage smoking can do to the mouth and surrounding areas. Smoking is associated with mouth cancer and our dentists can detect early changes, such as lesions, that may appear because of oral cancers.

As experts in oral health, our highly trained dentists can easily spot the damage tobacco does to the mouth and teeth. Smokers will also tend to suffer from bad breath, stained teeth and even a dry mouth.

People who smoke are also three times more likely than non-smokers to have severe gum disease. Fortunately, oral diseases associated with smoking are more obvious to the eye than other conditions. This can give our dentists an advantage over other health-care professionals in identifying patients who could be at risk because of smoking, and puts us in a good position to encourage the conversation about quitting this deadly habit.