Pentwyn Dental

Advice

New dentures

Having new dentures?

Please tell your dentist how you would like your new dentures to look at your second appointment. If you do not like the appearance of the dentures at the third visit TELL YOUR DENTIST as any changes can only be made at this stage.

If you need an adjustment after the denture is fitted, wear the dentures immediately before seeing your dentist as this will help to identify the problem areas.

Your new dentures will feel strange for a while. Try to persevere. If you have any problems do not hesitate to return for adjustments.

Care of new dentures

Your new denture has been made to the highest standards, but now its success depends on you.

Eating:

Place small portions of food between the side of the teeth and chew carefully and slowly before swallowing. Your first meal will take longer than usual. The denture will tend to move at first, but will become firmer after a few days.

Cleaning:

Clean after every meal with a denture brush and soap. Always clean your dentures over a basin of water. If you drop them they will not break. Never put them in hot water. If you have a partial denture, take extra care not to bend the clasps and don't forget to clean your natural teeth.

Night time:

Remove your denture at bedtime (unless you have been advised to leave it in by the dentist for one or two nights following extractions) and soak in water or a recognised denture cleaning solution. Never use bleach, the teeth will be lovely and white but so will the gums! Never let your denture become completely dry.

Adjustments:

If your mouth becomes sore and you have to remove the denture, begin wearing them several hours before you see the dentist so that the sore will be clearly visible. As new dentures tend to move, it is advisable to use a denture fixative as necessary.

Immediate replacement dentures

These dentures have been fitted immediately following the extraction of 1 or more teeth. They are for cosmetic purposes only as you do not want unsightly gaps until your mouth has adjusted following your extraction. They will become loose due to the normal process of healing which involved shrinkage of the gums. These dentures will need to be replaced after a period of 6 weeks to 3 months. You will have to pay for both sets of dentures on the NHS unless you are exempt.

Taking Antibiotics

The medication should be taken at regular intervals following the directions on the container. If you are about to have a meal they should be taken not more than 15 minutes before. A small amount of water or milk may help you swallow them. If you develop a rash whilst taking the antibiotic, STOP TAKING THEM and report this to the surgery or your GP.

If you are taking the contraceptive pill, the antibiotic you have been prescribed may reduce the contraceptive effect. Although the risk is slight, you are advised to use other forms of contraception during the time you are taking the antibiotics and for one week after.

You must complete the whole course of antibiotics even if your symptoms get better. Do not drink alcohol whilst taking antibiotics. You may take prescribed amounts of painkillers as well as the antibiotics.

Dental Erosion

What is dental erosion?

Erosion is the loss of tooth enamel caused by acid attack. Enamel is the hard, protective coating of the tooth, which protects the sensitive dentine underneath. When the enamel is worn away, the dentine underneath is exposed, which may lead to pain and sensitivity.

How do I know I have dental erosion?

Erosion usually shows up as hollows in the teeth and a general wearing away of the tooth surface and biting edges. This can expose the dentine underneath, which is a darker, yellower colour than the enamel. Because the dentine is sensitive, your teeth can also be more sensitive to hot, cold or acidic foods and drinks.

What causes dental erosion?

Every time you eat or drink anything acidic, the enamel on your teeth becomes softer for a short while, and loses some of its mineral content. Your saliva will slowly neutralise this acidity in your mouth and restore it to its natural balance. However, if this acid attack happens too often, your mouth does not have a chance to repair itself and tiny particles of enamel can be brushed away. Over time, you start to lose the surface of your teeth. 

Are there any medical problems that can cause dental erosion?

Bulimia is a condition where patients make themselves sick so that they lose weight. Because there are high levels of acid in the vomit, this can cause damage to tooth enamel.

Acids produced by the stomach can come up into the mouth - this is called gastro-oesophageal reflux. People suffering from hiatus hernia or oesophageal problems, or who drink too much alcohol, may also find that they suffer from dental erosion due to vomiting.

Can my diet help prevent it?

Food and drink that has a pH value lower than 5.5 is more acidic and can cause tooth erosion.

Fizzy drinks can cause enamel erosion. It is important to remember that even the diet brands are still harmful. Even flavoured fizzy waters can have an effect if taken in large amounts, as they contain weak acids that can harm your teeth.

Acidic foods and drinks such as fruit and fruit juices, particularly citrus ones including lemon and orange, contain natural acids, which can be harmful to your teeth, especially if you often have a lot of them. 'Alcopop' drinks that contain acidic fruits and are fizzy can cause erosion too.

Still water is the best drink for teeth, ad milk is also good because it helps to neutralise the acids in your mouth,

Are sports drinks safe?

Many sports drinks contain ingredients that can cause dental erosion. However, it is important for athletes to avoid dehydration because this can lead to a dry mouth and bad breath.

What can I do to prevent dental erosion?

  • Limit acidic products and fizzy drinks to mealtimes to reduce the number of acid attacks on your teeth.
  • Drinks should be drunk quickly without holding in or 'swishing' around your mouth. You could use a straw to help drinks go to the back of your mouth and avoid long contact with your teeth.
  • Finish a meal with cheese or milk as this will help neutralise the acid.
  • Chew sugar-free gum after eating to help produce more saliva to help cancel out the acids which form in your mouth after eating.
  • Wait for at least one hour after eating or drinking anything acidic before brushing your teeth. This gives your teeth time to build up their mineral content again.
  • Brush your teeth twice a day with a small headed brush with medium to soft bristles and fluoride toothpaste.

Should I use any other special products?

We recommend that you use a fluoride toothpaste twice a day. In sever cases, fluoride supplements such as rinses and gels may be used once a day. Your dentist or hygienist will tell you the best supplement to use.

How can it be treated?

Dental erosion does not always need to be treated. With regular check ups, your dentist can prevent the problem from getting any worse and the erosion from going any further. In other cases, it is important to protect the tooth and the dentine underneath to prevent sensitivity. In these cases, simply bonding a filling onto the tooth will be enough to repair it. However, in more severe cases the dentist may need to fit a veneer.

How much will treatment cost?

Costs will vary, depending on the type of treatment necessary and on your method of payment. It is important to discuss all the treatment options with your dentist and get a written estimate of the cost before starting treatment. 

Gum disease

What is gum disease?

Gum disease describes swelling, soreness or infection of the tissues supporting the teeth. There are two main forms of gum disease; gingivitis and periodontal disease.

What is gingivitis?

Gingivitis means inflammation of the gums. This is when the gums around the teeth become very red and swollen. Often the swollen gums bleed when they are brushed during cleaning.

What is periodontal disease?

Long-standing gingivitis can turn into periodontal disease. There are a number of types of periodontal disease ann they all affect the tissues supporting the teeth. As the disease gets worse, the bone anchoring the teeth in the jaw is lost, making the teeth loose. If this is not treated, the teeth may eventually fall out. In fact, more teeth are lost through periodontal disease than through tooth decay. 

Am I likely to suffer from gum disease?

Probably. Most people suffer from some form of gum disease, and it is the major cause of tooth loss in adults. However, the disease develops very slowly in most people and it can be slowed down to a rate that should allow you to keep most of your teeth for life.

What is the cause of gum disease?

Most gum disease is caused by plaque. Plaque is a film of bacteria which forms on the surface of the teeth and gums every day. Many of the bacteria in plaque are completely harmless, but there are some that have been shown to be the main cause of gum disease. To prevent and treat gum disease, you need to make sure you remove all the plaque from your teeth every day. This is done by brushing and flossing.

How will smoking affect my gums and teeth?

Smoking can also make gum disease worse. Patients who smoke are more likely to produce bacterial plaque, which leads to gum disease. The gums are affects because smoking causes a lack of oxygen in the bloodstream, so the infected gums fail to heal. Smoking causes people to have more dental plaque and for gum disease to progress more rapidly than in non-smokers. Gum disease still remains the most common form of tooth loss in adults.

What happens in gum disease is not treated?

Unfortunately, gum disease progresses painlessly on the whole so that you do not notice the damage it is doing. However, the bacteria are sometimes more active and this makes your gums sore. This can lead to gum abscesses and pus may ooze from around the teeth. Over a number of years, the bone supporting the teeth can be lost. If the disease is left untreated for a long time, treatment can become more difficult.

How do I know if I have gum disease?

The first sign is blood on the toothbrush or in the rinsing water when you clean your teeth. Your gums may also bleed when you are eating, leaving a bad taste in your mouth. Your breath may also become unpleasant.

What do I do if I think I have gum disease?

The first thing to do is visit your dentist for a thorough check-up of your teeth and gums. The dentist can measure the 'cuff' of gum around each tooth to see if there is any sign that periodontal disease has started. X-rays may also be needed to see the amount of bone that has been lost. This assessment is very important, so the correct treatment can be prescribed for you.

What treatments are needed?

Your dentist will usually give your teeth a thorough clean. You'll also be shown how to remove plaque successfully yourself, cleaning all surfaces of your teeth thoroughly and effectively. This may take a number of sessions with your dentist or hygienist.

What else may be needed?

Once your teeth are clean, your dentist may decide to carry out further cleaning of the roots of the teeth, to make sure that the last pockets of bacteria are removed. This is known as root surface debridement. You may need the treatment area to be numbed before anything is done. Afterwards, you may feel some discomfort for up to 48 hours.

Once I have had periodontal disease, can I get it again?

The periodontal diseases are never cured. But as long as you keep up the home care you have been taught, any further loss of bone will be very slow and it may stop altogether. However, you must make sure you remove plaque every day and go for regular check-ups by the dentist and hygienist. 

Post-dental extraction instructions

A clean and healthy mouth aids healing!

The following steps will help prevent bleeding and relieve soreness:

  • Rest for a few hours following treatment and avoid strenuous exercise.
  • Do not rinse for at least 4 hours. For several days following treatment, rinse your mouth gently after meals and before retiring using a mouthwash made by dissolving 1/2 teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water. Hold the solution in your mouth for several minutes, discard and repeat 2-3 times.
  • Avoid hot foods, alcohol and hard or chewy foods. Choose cool drinks and soft or minced foods. Avoid sucking at or interfering with the wound.
  • Should slight bleeding occur, sit upright with head and shoulders raised. Apply pressure using a small pad of gauze or clean linen clamped firmly between the jaws for 15 minutes. Repeat if necessary.
  • Take pain relief following the manufacturers instruction.

If excessive bleeding, undue pain or other symptoms occur, contact the practice during normal surgery hours. If out of hours, call 111 without delay.

Tooth Whitening