Dental Phobia

Did you know that fear of the dentist is the primary reason UK adults give for failing to attend regular dental appointments – far more than worries about costs or lack of time? Fear of the dentist is a common issue and can range from mild anxiety to full-blown phobia.

dental phobiaAt Benhill Dental Practice in Sutton we empathise with patients who suffer from dental phobia, but do not believe it should be a barrier to getting the treatment you need or the smile you deserve. Our skilled and experienced dental team have worked with many anxious and phobic patients to help them conquer their fear once and for all.

We don’t believe in using sedation during treatment, but instead take the time to talk to our patients and find out the cause of their fear. We are proud to practice gentle dentistry.

Thanks to advances in techniques and equipment, many dental treatments are now pain-free. For more complex procedures we use local anaesthetic to ensure that you will experience no discomfort.

One of the main factors of dental anxiety is a fear of being out of control. We will take the time to ensure you feel in control at all stages of treatment, and will provide you with hand signals so that you can indicate if you need to take a short break at any time. Don’t think this will upset the dentist or affect their schedule; we always ensure that adequate time is built into every appointment for breaks, because we know that everyone needs to take a breather now and again.

Many patients who have not seen a dentist in some years because of dental phobia also fear being judged because their teeth are in poor condition. You can rest assured that at Benhill Dental Practice we will never be judgemental; the whole team is sympathetic to patients’ concerns, and all we want is to help you get back into full oral health, then to maintain it for life.

Silver to White Fillings

Do you have prominent silver fillings that make you embarrassed to smile in public? Fillings made from metal amalgam are very strong and durable, but are also very obvious because they do not blend in with the natural colour of your teeth.

silver to white fillingsWhen they were first developed, white or tooth-coloured fillings were not as strong as metal amalgam fillings. These days things have changed; thanks to big advances in materials and techniques used, white fillings are now considered almost as strong as metal ones, and suitable for use in all areas of your mouth.

White or tooth-coloured fillings are made of a very strong composite material. When your dentist places a white filling, they will carefully select a colour of composite that matches closely to the natural colour of your teeth. This means that the fillings will blend in seamlessly to your smile and nobody will know they are there.

At Benhill Dental Practice in Sutton, we offer the option of replacing silver-coloured metal amalgam fillings with tooth-coloured composite fillings, to improve the aesthetic appearance of your smile. If your metal fillings are old, worn or discoloured, or if you just want to give your smile a cosmetic makeover, replacing metal fillings with composite fillings is an excellent option.

This is a simple and fast procedure carried out in a single appointment here at our Sutton dental practice. Your dentist will first remove your old metal fillings from your teeth, using local anaesthetic so that you won’t experience any discomfort.

If there are any new areas of decay, your dentist will also remove these and will prepare your tooth to take a new filling. After carefully choosing the correct shade of composite material, your dentist will place this in the cavity and shape it for a perfect, smooth and seamless fit. Once in place the material hardens quickly, giving you a strong, healthy and natural-looking smile.

Whiter Teeth

Whiter teeth are top of the wish-list for many people interested in cosmetic dentistry. Our teeth become stained by certain foods and drinks, including red wine and coffee, by smoking and by some medicines and medicated mouthwashes. Many people also find that as they become older they notice their teeth start to lose much of their natural lustre.

whiter teethAt Benhill Dental Practice we offer teeth whitening treatment to help you get that sparkle back in your smile. Teeth whitening can be carried out here at the dental practice or in the comfort of your own home. It’s a fast and effective way to remove the everyday stains from your teeth and give them a natural, brighter, whiter appearance.

Here’s how the treatment options work:

Home teeth whitening

If you choose home teeth whitening, you will still need to visit the dental practice so that your dentist can assess your suitability for treatment, and can take impressions of your teeth for your custom-made teeth whitening trays to be created.

When these trays are ready, we will see you again to check that they fit snuggly and will show you how to use them. You place a small amount of teeth whitening gel in the trays and wear them overnight for about two weeks.

Power whitening

Power whitening takes place here in our Sutton dental practice. Your lips and gums will be shielded and whitening gel will be applied to your teeth. A special lamp is placed over your teeth to activate the gel, which will gently remove even stubborn stains from your teeth. Power whitening takes just one hour, and will result in teeth that are several shades whiter.

Whichever option you choose, it’s important to remember that teeth whitening should only be carried out by a dentist or dental hygienist. The products used in dental practices, unlike those available online or on the high street, are tried, tested and safe. Teeth whitening should also only be carried out on healthy teeth, as patients with cavities or enamel erosion are more likely to experience sensitivity.

Oral Hygiene

How does your oral hygiene scrub up? Good dental hygiene is vital to maintaining your oral health. Many common dental problems, including gum disease and tooth decay, can be prevented with good oral hygiene.

oral hygieneAt Benhill Dental Practice we are passionate about preventative dentistry, which is why we are always keen to stress the importance of a strong oral hygiene routine. Good dental health involves team work, combining regular visits to your dentist and hygienist with stringent home practices.

We recommend that most patients visit the dentist for a check-up and they hygienist for a scale and polish every six months. In some cases – for example if you have gum disease and your treatment needs monitoring – we will want to see you more frequently, and you should always follow your dentist’s recommendations.

Our hygienist, Debbie, will professionally clean your teeth with a scale and polish. This involves using special equipment and pastes to remove all traces of plaque and tartar from the surfaces of your teeth. Plaque and tartar build-up can lead to the development of gum disease, which if left untreated can ultimately lead to your teeth falling out.

Debbie will also provide bespoke advice on how best to look after your teeth at home. This will include tips on brushing techniques, flossing and using interdental brushes to clean in between your teeth effectively. This advice will be presented in an individualised, age-appropriate manner – Debbie runs a special Toothy Pegs Club for children to help them learn the importance of good dental hygiene in a fun way.

She will also advise on how dietary and lifestyle factors, such as drinking too much fruit juice or smoking, can affect your dental health, and offer advice on how to develop more tooth-friendly habits.

Sensitive Teeth

Sensitive teeth are a common problem that can make sufferers’ lives a nightmare. When your teeth are sensitive to extremes of hot and cold, treats such as a cooling ice cream on a hot summer’s day or a fresh, crunchy apple straight from the fridge may be off the menu. You may find yourself leaving your morning coffee to go lukewarm before you can drink it, wincing at the thought of ice in your cocktail coming into contact with your teeth. . .

sensitive teethThe good news is that if you suffer from sensitive teeth, your dentist will be able to help. While sensitive toothpastes work temporarily, many people find that when they stop using them their sensitivity returns.

You should always seek advice from a dental professional, because sensitive teeth have many causes. Your dentist will be able to identify the source of the problem and recommend appropriate treatment to get rid of sensitivity for good.

One of the most common causes of sensitive teeth is enamel erosion, also called dental erosion. Our teeth are coated by very strong enamel, which protects the more sensitive dentine underneath. Enamel may be worn away by dietary factors – consuming too much acidic or sugary food and drink – or by brushing your teeth too hard. Eating disorders and bruxism (tooth grinding) can also lead to enamel erosion.

Other common causes of sensitive teeth include gum disease, which can lead to gum recession, exposing the more sensitive roots of the teeth. Pockets may form in the gums around the tooth, making it more difficult to keep the area clean and thus further exacerbating the problem.

Cracked teeth and broken fillings can also lead to sensitive teeth, as cracks can run all the way from the tooth surface down to the sensitive root.

Using second-rate tooth whitening products bought from the internet or from beauty salons can also increase your chances of developing sensitive teeth. If you have teeth whitening from a dental professional, the products will be safe and in some cases will have added ingredients to help prevent sensitivity from developing.

Healthy Gums

Good dental health isn’t just about the condition of your teeth. Your gums play a vitally important role, too, and healthy gums help maintain a happy smile.

healthy gumsYour gums act like cushions for your teeth, surrounding the teeth in the jaws, helping to support them. Gum disease is a very common problem – most patients will experience a mild form at some point in their life. If you notice any of the early symptoms of gum disease, you should contact your dentist straight away. Without treatment, it can develop into a more serious form and can lead to tooth loss.

Gum disease is caused by plaque bacteria, which builds up on your teeth when you don’t clean them properly. This bacteria starts to attack the gums, leading to the mild form of gum disease, which is called gingivitis.

Early symptoms of gum disease can be hard to spot, but common signs include:

  • Gums that bleed when you brush your teeth or bite into hard foods
  • Red or swollen gums
  • Halitosis (bad breath)
  • An unpleasant taste in your mouth

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you should book an appointment with a dentist. At this early stage gum disease can be treated and managed with professional tooth cleaning by your dentist or hygienist, who can remove all traces of plaque and tartar even from areas that are difficult to reach when brushing.

Gum disease is easily prevented with a good dental hygiene regime. This involves both regular visits to your dentist and hygienist and the use of proper brushing and flossing techniques at home. Your hygienist can help you to prevent a customised home-care regime to help prevent the problem from arising again.

Left untreated, gingivitis can develop into the more serious form of gum disease, known as periodontitis or periodontal disease. Symptoms of this can include teeth that become loose and dental abscesses. Ultimately this can lead to teeth falling out, so you should get in touch with your dentist immediately if you experience any of these symptoms.

Nervous Patients

Are you afraid of the dentist? Then you are not alone. Fear of the dentist is the main reason patients in the UK cite for failing to keep up regular dental appointments. At Benhill Dental practice in Sutton, we have helped many nervous patients to get the dental treatment they need, by practising gentle dentistry.

nervous patientsFear of the dentist has a plethora of causes. Some people have had a bad experience as a child, which has put them off seeking dental treatment for life. Others have specific triggers, such as the sound of the drill or the sight of a needle. The fear of not being in control is also common, along with shame about the condition of your teeth if you haven’t seen a dentist in many years.

Putting off dental treatment until an emergency arises can also add to nervous patients’ fear, as problems that could have been prevented with regular dental check-ups end up requiring more invasive treatment.

At Benhill Dental Practice has many years of experience working with nervous patients, without the need for sedation. By taking the time to talk to patients about their concerns and by practising gentle dentistry, we have helped scores of patients get the treatment they need.

Modern dental techniques have advanced greatly and most treatments are now practically pain-free. We use local anaesthetic for more complex procedures, and will ensure that you know how to signal to us if you need a break during treatment. That way, you can be assured that you will always be comfortable and in control at all stages of treatment.

If you first come to us for emergency dental treatment, our first priority will be to get you out of pain. We will treat any urgent problems, then will schedule follow-up appointments are necessary to help get you back to full dental health – and maintain your health going forward.

Veneers

Many people are unhappy with the appearance of their teeth. Stained, chipped or misaligned teeth can make you feel very self-conscious about smiling or laughing in public.

veneersAt Benhill Dental Practice in Sutton, we believe that everybody deserves a smile to be proud of. Our skilled team of cosmetic dentists offer a number of options to help improve both the appearance of your smile and your self-confidence. For many patients, veneers are the perfect option for smile makeover treatment. As well as looking natural and beautiful, treatment with veneers is fast and minimally-invasive, ensuring that your teeth remain strong and healthy.

Veneers can be made of porcelain or composite material (the same material we use to create white fillings). They are thin shells that are placed over the front surfaces of your teeth to cover permanent stains and discolouration, small chips and cracks, small gaps and minor alignment problems. Many people like to think of veneers as false fingernails for teeth.

Depending on your individual needs, your dentist will adjust the shape of your veneers to make your teeth look longer or closer together overall. One veneer can be used to improve the appearance of a single discoloured or stained tooth, while a full set can give a more uniform appearance to all of your front teeth.

Your teeth require very little preparation to receive veneers. A small amount of enamel may be removed from the tooth’s surface to aid with the bonding process, but your veneers will be made to the exact same thickness as the amount of enamel removed. Where a tooth has a small chip or crack, your veneer will be made a little thicker where it covers the crack/chip.

To ensure an entirely natural look, your dentist will carefully select a shade of porcelain or composite material that closely matches the natural shade of your teeth, taking into account such factors as your skin tone and hair colour too, to give a beautiful and realistic smile makeover.

White Fillings

Once upon a time, if you needed a filling your only choice was to have one made of metal amalgam. While this is a strong, durable and well-proven option, because of their silver or grey colour, these fillings could also be very obvious – particularly if they were near the front of your mouth.

white fillingsWhite fillings have been around for a long time, but for many years were considered less strong than their metal counterparts. However, thanks to advances in materials and techniques, white fillings are now considered almost as strong as metal amalgam ones, and are suitable for use anywhere in your mouth.

At Benhill Dental Practice in Sutton, our skilled cosmetic dentists also offer the option of replacing your old metal amalgam fillings with white fillings. These are carefully matched to the natural shade of your teeth, meaning that not only will you be able to smile without a trace of metal on show, but also that nobody will notice you have any fillings at all.

This is a safe and simple procedure carried out under local anaesthetic. Your dentist will carefully remove your old metal filling and any areas of decay that may have developed since your tooth was filled, and will put a tooth-coloured filling in its place. These fillings are made from a very hard, durable composite material that is able to withstand the biting and chewing forces created in your mouth.

For teeth that have very large metal fillings or a large amount of decay, your dentist may recommend using tooth-coloured inlays or onlays, as these are better-suited to larger cavities and are a half-step between standard fillings and crowns.

Your dentist will also provide you with preventative advice to help stop any further decay developing, helping to prevent the need for any further fillings in the future.

Teeth Whitening

Teeth whitening is the most popular cosmetic dental treatment in the UK. It’s a fast and effective way to improve the appearance of your smile and, when carried out by a dentist or dental hygienist, is safe and predictable.

teeth whiteningAt Benhill Dental Practice in Sutton, our fully-qualified hygienist, Debbie, provides teeth whitening treatment using the popular Zoom whitening system. There are two options for teeth whitening at our practice: power whitening in the dentist’s chair, and home whitening.

The key thing to remember if you are shopping around for teeth whitening treatments is that they must, by law, only be carried out by a dentist or a hygienist on a dentist’s prescription. While there are a plethora of “teeth whitening” products available on the high street, from beauty salons and from the internet, these have often not been tested to the rigorous standards required of whitening products used by dentists.

This may simply mean that the products do not work, meaning you have wasted your money. This is a best-case scenario, however, as some of these products are actually dangerous and can damage your teeth and gums.

Teeth whitening products delivered by fully-qualified dental professionals are extensively tested and are safe. They use special bleaching agents to gently remove everyday stains caused by foods, drinks and habits such as smoking. The result will be teeth that are brighter and whiter.

Home teeth whitening involves using custom-made whitening trays made of light plastic. You place a little gel in these trays and wear them overnight for about two weeks.

Power whitening involves an appointment with hygienist Debbie here at our Sutton practice. She will carefully shield your gums and lips before applying whitening gel to your teeth. A special lamp is shone on your teeth to activate the gel while you sit back and relax. You could have brighter, whiter teeth in just one hour.