dental phobia treatment options

Dental anxiety is one of the most common phobias we share and almost half of all British people say they fear going to the dentist, triggered by the thought of needles, drills or even just the general dental setting and a routine check-up. Worryingly, this results in almost 12% experiencing such acute anxiety that they will avoid visiting a dentist for as long as possible – often until it becomes an emergency.

Dental anxiety typically results in poor oral health, whether through missed dental appointments and not taking care of your teeth properly at home. Combined with smoking or high sugar consumption, this can result in gum disease and cavities that can have a profound impact on a person’s life. Self-confidence in social settings can be affected and simple actions such as eating and chewing can become challenging.

The profound impact of dental phobia

Dental phobia is no joke as it can have serious consequences. There is a growing body of evidence linking gum disease to other health concerns that affect the body as a whole. Gum disease can increase your risk of developing serious health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke and dementia as well as causing problems in pregnancy.

In terms of dental treatment, skipping regular check-ups and putting off going to the dentist in the short term, often results in the patient requiring the complex and often lengthy procedures, such as tooth extraction, root canal or crowns, that was their main fear all along.

Your dental phobia treatment options

The good news is that there are steps you can take to tackle your dental phobia. Here are some of the dental phobia treatment options you could explore:

  • Therapy to address dental anxiety: one option to overcoming this or any phobia is cognitive behavioural therapy, known as CBT. One recent study carried out by researchers at King’s College London found that four-fifths of dental-phobic patients who attended the CBT service at King’s Dental Institute were able to have dental treatment without sedation
  • Dental treatment under sedation: also known as conscious sedation, this entails using gas and air or sedative drugs to relax the patients while they undergo treatment
  • General anaesthetic dentistry: for very severe cases of dental anxiety, performing the procedure under general anaesthetic might be the most appropriate option, particularly if the planned procedure is very lengthy and likely to be uncomfortable for the patient. This is offered by very few dental practices because it has to be performed in a hospital setting, but our dental practice in Bristol is situated in the local Nuffield hospital and we are able to offer this option to our patients.

At CK Dental, our caring and compassionate team of dental practitioners aim to make the whole experience as calm and relaxed as possible, as well as offering a range of options for tackling dental phobia. For more information on how you can overcome dental anxiety and remain smiling, call CK Dental on 0117 905 9866 and arrange a consultation with our lead dentist Cornelius Krause.

risk of tooth decay

According to a new study which looked at the oral health of the UK’s top athletes and risk of tooth decay, despite the fact that this group claim to meticulously brush their teeth well each day, they are exhibiting greater incidence of gum and tooth disease compared with others.

The research was undertaken by University College London (UCL) Eastman Dental Institute and was published in the British Dental Journal. It involved members from 11 of the UK GB teams and covered 352 individuals who either competed at Olympic level or some other professional class. The theme of the study was dental habits coupled with an assessment of dental records.

Respondents claim to have good oral health routines, with “almost 100 per cent reported brushing their teeth the recommended twice a day, compared to only 75 per cent of the general population.” The incidence of flossing was also high in this group; with over double the rate of the general population (44% of the athletes reportedly floss each day, compared with 21% of the general population). As you might expect, other factors such as the amount of exercise undertaken each week and the diets these athletes consumed were also more favourable.

Why are athletes struggling with their oral health?

Report authors suggest the reason for these issues is the energy drinks consumed to aid performance when practising and playing. One UCL researcher commented, “they use sports drinks, energy gels and bars frequently during training and competition… the sugar in these products increases the risk of tooth decay and the acidity of them increases the risk of erosion.”

So, despite working hard to cleanse their teeth and gums at the start and end of each day, the amount of sugar contained within the bars, gels and drinks was having such a detrimental effect that regular brushing wasn’t able to fully mitigate the damage caused between brushes.

What can be done to help?

According to the report, “researchers said athletes need to take more steps to look after their teeth, such as high fluoride toothpaste”, which is something that here at CK Dental in Bristol we recommend to all our patients. This, coupled with a reduced reliance upon heavily sugared products, would be a good step towards helping their oral health. It is likely though that for anyone who relies upon the energy boost provided by these products, they are not going to be very keen to cut these out altogether. If that is the case, making time for interim brushing, after lunch or soon after consuming one of these bars/drinks/gels would be a sensible idea.

For more oral health advice, call 0117 905 9866 to arrange a check-up appointment at CK Dental.

gum disease treatment

We all know it is important to look after our teeth and gums and make regular appointments to see the dentist. This is very important to ensure our oral health is up to scratch but looking after our mouths effectively could also have a knock-on effect on our overall health and well-being as well.

There are a number of serious health issues which appear to share links with oral health, including:

  • Strokes
  • Diabetes
  • Hearth conditions
  • Arthritis

And here is what is known about these links.

Oral health and ill health

For patients who are suffering from diabetes, it is not uncommon for doctors to see that they have poor oral health as well. It has been recognised that diabetes can have a negative effect on your oral health but it is now also believed that it can work in reverse too, with poor oral health contributing to diabetes.

According to a recently published report, “there is evidence that suggests that if you have severe gum disease that isn’t being treated, this can increase your levels of HbA1c.” HbA1c is the amount of sugar you have in your bloodstream and doctors believe that patients who have untreated gum disease are much more likely to have higher glucose content in their blood.

According to the British Heart Foundation, there are also links between gum disease and heart attacks. Although more research is needed to test these links, it is believed that bacteria from the mouths of those with gum disease can contribute to heart conditions. It is not known exactly whether this bacteria causes conditions to arise, or worsens existing conditions, however, there is a suspected link and researchers are working to understand more about this.

Oral bacteria is also something that Arthritis UK are investigating, due to the suspected link between the development of rheumatoid arthritis and a build-up of nasty oral bacteria. “Arthritis Research UK is currently funding research to determine whether mouth and gut bacteria can ‘trick’ the immune system to attack the body’s own tissues, causing rheumatoid arthritis.” There are suspicions that the bacteria act as a catalyst for the development of the condition.

What does this mean for patients?

Here at CK Dental, we find the results of this study interesting, as it opens the cause and effect debate again. Assessment of these different conditions for this particular study was undertaken by Duke University’s School of Nursing in the USA, who evaluated past studies to establish whether or not a person’s oral health affects the rate of cognitive decline.

Certainly, although available data is currently limited, it does look as if poor oral hygiene probably contributes to the worsening of some serious conditions and seeking gum disease treatment as early as possible is essential.

Call 0117 905 9866 if you would like advice, diagnosis or gum disease treatment.

dental hygienist check-up

For most of us, visiting the dentist is fairly commonplace; it is something we have done since childhood and generally speaking we know what to expect from a routine appointment. In recent years there has been a much greater uptake in patients booking to see a dental hygienist as well, so for anyone who hasn’t been to a hygienist appointment before, here at CK Dental we want to give you a clearer idea of what to expect.

When we were young, dental hygienists didn’t exist – your dentist would have been responsible for cleaning and polishing your teeth as part of the appointment. In recent years, more of more dental hygienists have joined the profession and they are able to help support patients and dentists with their expertise.

Julie Rosse, president-elect of the British Society of Dental Hygiene and Therapy, explains; “the dental hygienist is a vital member of the dental team, an expert in periodontal care (care of the gums) who can help prevent problems arising.”

Their support enables dentists to focus on the bigger picture and the more specialist areas that require their knowledge and expertise.

Your dental hygienist check-up covers

In a nutshell, what is a dental hygienist responsible for? There are in fact many things…

  • Generally making sure your teeth and gums are clean and are being looked after properly
  • Keeping an eye on your gums to check for warning signs of more serious conditions such as gingivitis
  • Talking you through how to get the best from products such as floss
  • Monitoring plaque levels and helping to remove any build up
  • Answering any questions you may have about your oral health and how best to look after your teeth and gums
  • Advising on lifestyle choices which may be causing damage to your teeth and gums, for example, smoking or eating/drinking a lot of sugary things
  • Small scale procedures, such as tooth whitening, x-rays, tooth scaling

Your dentist will keep a close eye on your oral health during routine appointments and will advise whether or not they believe you should also book to see a hygienist. If you’re interested in booking a check-up with our dental hygienist, call 0117 905 9866.

dental phobia treatment

Fear of visiting the dentist is more common than you might think and, with this in mind, a law firm recently decided to carry out some research to uncover just how many of us are nervous about visiting the dentist and what impact this could be having on our health.

The survey was undertaken amongst respondents aged 16 and above and over 2000 people took part. Of these, a huge four out of five in the UK indicated that they were fearful of visiting the dentist, and over a quarter (26%) who “admitted to cancelling or delaying dental appointments due to fear”.

The research also looked at where in the UK dental hygiene was the worst, and here are the worst-offending cities (ranked from top to bottom – with the top being the worst):

  1. Sheffield
  2. Brighton
  3. Manchester
  4. Bristol
  5. Cardiff
  6. London
  7. Norwich
  8. Leeds
  9. Belfast

It doesn’t surprise us to see Bristol featured in the list, as many of our patients have shared their concerns over the years. However, here at CK Dental we work hard to reassure our patients – and prospective patients – that visiting the dentist really isn’t so bad after all. Offering an environment whereby our patients feel comfortable and relaxed is something we take very seriously.

We pride ourselves in listing carefully to the needs, wants and concerns of our patients, offering reassurance when needed, advice, guidance and alternative solutions. We want our patients to leave feeling they have made the best decisions for their oral health, and also have been able to approach their dentistry in a way that has made them feel as calm and relaxed as possible.

Dental phobia treatment options

As a practice, we also offer ‘GA dentistry’, which means we are able to conduct some procedures while the patient is under general anaesthetic. This can be very reassuring for patients who are very nervous about having work done in their mouths, as it offers a much calmer environment for them.

We are ideally situated within the Nuffield Health Bristol Hospital, which means we are fortunate to be able to sedate patients with general anaesthetic on site. This, and our interest in the benefits this approach can offer, means we are proficient in this method and will explore its suitability for patients who are extremely anxious about treatment.

To find out more about our approach to dental phobia, call 0117 905 9866 to arrange an appointment.

dental implant

Tooth loss is something that many of us dread, but for a significant proportion, it will become a reality at some point in our lives. Here at CK Dental we touch on what to expect if the very worst happens – a front tooth becomes broken, falls out or has to be removed surgically.

A dental implant is the most common and most suitable fix for a missing front tooth. This is where a new tooth is attached directly into the jaw bone where the missing tooth used to be attached.

Expected lead time

The first thing to say is that there is a period of times that needs to pass between when the original tooth is fully removed/extracted and when the new, artificial tooth will be implanted. This is usually around three months. You won’t be left with a gap, during this time patients are usually given a removable false tooth that will sit in the gap until the implant is ready.

Wearing a false tooth will undoubtedly feel strange to begin with but you will get used to it. Although you may feel self-conscious at first, rest assured it will be more obvious to you than it is to anyone else. It will be designed to fit comfortably between your other teeth and will be made to reflect the shape and colour of your other teeth. You will quickly get used to it and once you do the time will fly by.

The dental implant itself

When the time comes for your implant to be fitted, this is a significant operation and you should give yourself suitable time to recover from the procedure. The operation itself is usually a three-stage process.

  1. Attach the implant into your jaw bone. This is what the new tooth will be attached too. This is usually a one or two stage process depending on the suitability of the jaw bone for this.
  2. The implant is then fused with the bone. This is the time-consuming part. It can sometimes take as little as six weeks but sometimes can be as long as six months.
  3. Finally, the last stage involves designing, making and fixing the new tooth to the implant.

Often a permanent solution

If you treat your dental implant with the care it requires, then there is no reason it should not last as long as your natural teeth. Once it is fitted, it is a long-term fix for a missing tooth. Your dentist will talk to you fully about how to care for your implant and how to ensure its longevity.

periodontitis

Here at CK Dental, we touched recently on nasty ailments of the mouth and how best to avoid them, one of which being the condition known as periodontitis. It is a common oral complaint, with around 75% of adults in the UK likely to experience it at some point in their lives and it causes the gums to recede and expose sensitive areas of the tooth that are ordinarily protected by the gums.

Understanding more about periodontitis can help people know what signs to look for and how to take preventative steps to stop it forming.

So, what gives people a heightened risk of developing periodontitis?

Poor oral health

Not brushing your teeth twice a day for the recommended minimum of two minutes per brush increases your risk of getting periodontitis. This simple routine can help prevent (and sometimes cure) so many problems that can develop in the mouth so if you feel you are falling short of looking after your teeth appropriately, you may be paving the way for trouble in the future.

Other ailments of the mouth and gums

People who suffer from conditions such as gingivitis (gum disease) fall into a higher risk bracket, so if you start to suffer from gum disease then it is important to be mindful of symptoms of periodontitis too, and flag this quickly with a dentist if you are concerned at all. Some illnesses that affect other areas of the body can also increase the risk of developing periodontitis, such as diabetes.

Bad habits

Smoking and taking drugs also have a negative impact on your oral hygiene and are both factors that have been linked with a greater chance of getting periodontitis. Not only that, people who don’t adhere to healthy eating and drinking guidelines and consume lots of sugary foods and/or carbonated drinks will also have a greater risk.

Recently, a study found that excessive computer use can put teenagers at risk of poor oral health. An examination of more than 1,500 teenagers found that those that spent long periods of time on their computer were less likely to brush their teeth or visit the dentist.

Simple bad luck

For some of us, unfortunately, the chance of developing periodontitis in written into our genes – it can be passed down genetically and some can inherit greater susceptibility of getting it.

Managing the risk

Equipped with the knowledge about what periodontitis is and which factors increase the risk of developing it, people can monitor their oral health and hopefully avoid getting unpleasant and sometimes serious mouth ailments.

If you’re worried about your oral health, call 0117 905 9866 to arrange a check-up.

oral care lichen planus

If you haven’t heard of lichen planus before, you’re not alone. This condition is something that affects the mouths of some older people and it can often be symptomatic of underlying health conditions, so it is useful to know what to look out for. Here at CK Dental, we have put together a handy facts page so that you know what to look out for and what it means for your oral health.

What exactly is lichen planus?

It is a long-standing condition which affects the mouth and can spread to other areas of the body. Although symptoms are often mild, they are usually the tell-tale warnings that your body is struggling with its immune system, so symptoms of lichen planus should not be ignored.

What are the symptoms?

The most overt sign that you have developed this condition is the presence of white patches on your gums, the inside of your cheeks and on your tongue. This should not be mistaken for tonsillitis though, which is a painful condition that will leave you feeling very poorly and would need to be treated by a doctor. Tonsillitis also leaves white patches in the mouth although these are on the tonsils, rather than spread more widely around the mouth.

Who is likely to be affected by lichen planus?

Typically, women are at higher risk of developing lichen planus compared with men, although men can get it too. It is often more prevalent on older people – those in late middle age are the most at risk category.

If you think you may have developed lichen planus then it is important to speak to your dentist or GP as it will need to be officially diagnosed, which requires a biopsy (this is where a small piece of affected tissue is removed from the mouth and sent to the lab for testing).

The condition is usually indicative of a weakness in the immune system and can also be exacerbated by a number of other medications. The drug penicillamine, some pain killers, medicine for diabetes and also beta blockers have all been found to make lichen planus worse for some patients. Eating hot or spicy food can also make the patches in your mouth feel uncomfortable.

Treatment for this oral health condition

Unfortunately, although the symptoms of lichen planus can be treated to make it less uncomfortable, the condition is currently untreatable in terms of removing it from the body altogether. If it is indicative of issues with the immune system then this in itself can be treated, and if it is being worsened by taking different medications then alternatives or a change in dosage can be explored.

regular dental check-ups

As we celebrate National Smile Month in the UK, we’re taking a moment to highlight the importance of preventative dental care.

There are very few walks of life where the saying ‘prevention is better than cure’ doesn’t ring true, and dentistry is no exception to this. Although there is a wide range of dental procedures that can be done to help mend damaged teeth or poorly gums, keeping them in good health and trying to keep issues such as decay, plaque and poor oral health at bay is definitely the best approach.

Ensure you book regular dental check-ups 

One of the key messages from the Oral Health Foundation in aid of National Smile Month is to visit your dentist regularly. If you are a healthy adult with no major dental issues, then it is recommended that you visit the dentist at least twice a year so that you can have regular checks on your teeth and gums. Many of us wouldn’t think twice about booking our car in for a regular service or MOT, and the same is true for our mouths… it is just more important not to let these dental check-ups slip.

If your regular dental check-ups yield anything to be concerned about or anything that regular brushing and flossing is not keeping at bay, you should consider visiting the hygienist too. These visits are typically twice or up to four times per year, depending on the nature of the work that needs doing.

Having regular appointments with the team here at CK Dental can help spot the warning signs of some oral conditions that can be quite serious if left untreated. Conditions such as gingivitis and periodontitis can cause long-standing issues for the teeth and gums, but with quick diagnosis they can be nipped in the bud before they cause too much damage.

What can happen if your mouth is neglected

Gingivitus is another name for gum disease, whereby gums become red, swollen, inflamed and sore. This can also result in bad breath and can lead to bleeding gums. If left untreated, gum disease can damage the teeth and may eventually lead to tooth loss.

Periodontitis is another condition you would want to avoid, as this if where the gums recede away from the tooth, leaving the lower parts and the root exposed. If allowed to progress, this can affect the bone too and can also lead to tooth loss. This is a common condition, with over three-quarters of adults in the UK thought to have experienced it. It can be treated, but if ignored can lead to some or all of your teeth having to be removed.

Following the ‘prevention is better than cure’ adage has got to be sensible when the cure for letting conditions such as these take hold is a set of dentures in place of your neglected teeth. Call 0117 905 9866 to book a check-up at our Bristol dentist clinic.

Denplan Free Electric Toothbrush

Each patient that joins a Denplan payment plan in June 2019 will receive a Philips Sonicare EasyClean electric toothbrush.

Worth £45 and with many features including unique sonic technology that removes two times’ more plaque than a manual toothbrush, Denplan patients of CK Dental in Bristol can be safe in the knowledge they are ensuring optimal oral health in the comfort of their own homes.

To qualify, new or reinstating patients’ application* (submitted in practice, by post, phone or online) must be received by us between 1st and 30th June 2019 and with a care start date of June, July or August 2019.

Click here to read our full Terms and Conditions – https://www.denplan.co.uk/sonicaretcs. Patients under the age of eight at the time of their Denplan for Children registration aren’t eligible due to the recommendations of the toothbrush’s manufacturer.

For more information on our Denplan dental payment plans, call 0117 905 9866.