technology and toothbrushing Bristol dentistEverything in our modern lives is eventually touched by technology, thanks to the technical wizards who are hard at work innovating, reinventing and modifying the things that we use on a day to day basis. From our phones to our fridges, our TVs to our heating, everything we use is being pushed to try and make it do more and more clever, useful things.

It was only a matter of time before the consumer dentistry market was the recipient of one of these new innovations, and here at CK Dental Practice in Bristol, we were interested to hear more.

Smart tooth brushes

At the recent Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in Las Vegas, a new type of ‘smart toothbrush’ was unveiled. This new innovation promises to sync with an app to try and help you make your teeth brushing routine as efficient as possible. The logic behind this new tooth brush is that in the long run, the intelligence garnered from its use will save you lots of money in future dentistry work.

Artificial intelligence

These smart tooth brushes even promise that they use the very latest in artificial intelligence (AI), as they will supposedly study the way in which you brush your teeth, learn from this and then make suggestions about how this can be improved. The tooth brush is designed to connect to an app on your phone via Bluetooth, which captures information about your brushing habits, such as how often you brush, how long for and which areas of your mouth you give most attention to.

Interestingly, according to one toothbrush innovator Kolibree, a tech firm specialising in dental products, their new toothbrush has the capability of storing usage data while it is not connected to the app, and then syncing when the connection feature is activated.

Sounds very futuristic, doesn’t it?

Some of the big, well-known brands in toothbrush manufacture are already investigating the potential behind using AI to keep our teeth cleaner and healthier. If you like the sound of this but aren’t in a position to invest in one of these new smart toothbrushes, then there are other dentistry apps available that can help add a bit of sparkle to your normal tooth brushing routine. This is a great idea too if you’re trying to encourage children to find tooth brushing more interesting.

When it comes to dentistry innovations, it sounds like the future’s bright, the future’s pearly-white.

What causes teeth to discolour? Bristol dentistThere are many factors that affect the colour of our teeth, some of which are well known, others are much more obscure. Whereas regular brushing can go a long way to helping keep teeth white, there are some issues where brushing alone won’t quite cut it.

Ageing causes the enamel to become thinner, giving teeth a yellowish tinge. This is something that will happen to all of us, some of us are happy to live with the discolouration brought on by age, while others feel it is not a compromise they are prepared to make. Strong coloured food and drink (such as coffee, tea and red wine) can also stain teeth, as will tobacco for smokers. But what else affects how bright our smiles are?

Exposure to fluoride

Most people have heard that fluoride is good for teeth, but exposure to fluoride when teeth are young and still developing can be harmful to the soft enamel. During early childhood, exposure to fluoride should
be carefully limited. Toothpaste containing fluoride is recommended only for children of three years and older, and for those aged between three and six years old, this must be no more than the size of a garden pea.

Even in adults, excessive exposure to fluoride can cause teeth to get darker. Luckily, professional whitening treatments can often reverse the effects of too much fluoride in later life.

Damage to the tooth or its root

If you’ve suffered an injury to your mouth then this can cause bleeding inside the tooth, leading to discolouration. A fall, a sporting injury or any other accident that has exerted pressure on your teeth can lead to permanent discolouration of the affected teeth.

At CK Dental Practice in Bristol, we can help if you’re suffering from a darkened tooth. Professional cleaning can help remove some stubborn surface stains, whereas for more serious discolouration there are some more technical options available. Individual teeth can be capped with a ‘bonding component’ which is attached to the tooth and will cover its darker appearance. This component will be matched to the colour of your non-damaged teeth. Alternatively, porcelain veneers can be fitted over the teeth. This is becoming more and more popular over time, with many high profile figures improving the appearance of their smile with veneers.

If you are concerned about the colour of your teeth and wish to discuss options, get in touch with the team here at CK Dental practice in Bristol, who will be able to offer advice based specifically on what is causing the discolouration you’re unhappy with.

Why do teeth discolour with age? Bristol dentistThere are many things that happen to the human body as we age, and one of these is discolouration of the teeth. Your once shiny, pearly white smile might start to take on a yellowish tinge as the years creep up on you, but what exactly causes this?

Despite the steps forward humans have taken in an evolutionary sense, we still only get two sets of teeth in our lifetime, the second of which last for the vast majority of our lives. As with any part of the body, teeth are subjected to wear and tear, and will naturally get weaker over time.

One sign that teeth are ageing is discolouration, which is caused by the tooth enamel thinning. As the enamel coating gets thinner it begins to take on a more transparent state, which means that the components inside the tooth start to become visible. Inside teeth is a material called “dentine” which is yellow in colour. It is this which starts to become visible, giving the appearance of discoloured teeth.

Can anything be done to combat the appearance of ageing teeth?

Here at CK Dental practice in Bristol we understand that people like to retain a youthful appearance for as long as possible. If maintaining a bright, white smile is important to you then there are options that can help address the natural aging process of your teeth.

As well as teeth whitening in Bristol, we also offer porcelain veneers, which can be fitted to natural teeth to mask the effects of tooth discolouration and are growing steadily in popularity.

A more natural alternative

There are also steps that can be taken to help keep teeth white that does not involve dentistry. Avoiding foods that stain teeth is a sensible starting point. Drinks such as red wine, coffee, tea and foods that contain a lot of artificial strong colouring should be avoided if you’re worried that your teeth are darkening, as these can exacerbate the problem.

Tobacco is also a common culprit for teeth discolouration. Nicotine and the tar found within cigarettes stains heavily, but the good news is the effects are not permanent. If you’re prepared to ditch the habit and to get your teeth ‘deep cleaned’ then it is possible to remove a lot of the discoloration caused by smoking.

how do I choose a dentist in BristolIf you’re not registered with a dentist then you risk neglecting your teeth and storing up big problems for future of your mouth, teeth and gums.

We book our cars in for regular MOTs, and the same principle applies for our teeth – they need to be regularly checked to ensure they are healthy, clean and strong.

Most oral problems can be fixed easier and more effectively if caught earlier. So don’t delay – if you haven’t joined a dental practice, start looking at your options now.

So how do I know how to pick a good dentist?

These simple steps will give you an opportunity to learn more about the dental practices that are available in your area and how to make an informed choice.

Do your research

Use the internet to your advantage and read around what is available locally, how long the practice has been established and what services they offer. There are often reviews available online too, which will show you whether others would recommend the practice and how they rate their experience.

Listen to what others say

Speak to existing patients as this will give you a flavour for how others view the services and care offered. It’s also worth checking that the practice is properly regulated. Here at CK Dental Practice in Bristol we are proud to meet all Care Quality Commission (CQC) national standards.

The Care Quality Commission is the independent regulator of all health and social care services in England. The CQC monitors, inspects and regulates dental practices and other health care providers, so their stamp of approval will give the reassurances that the practice is operating to a suitable standard.

Understand the ethos of the practice

Most dental surgeries have a website that will give you an indication of the ‘personality’ of the practice.

CK Dental Practice in Bristol believes in patient-led care. We do not believe in treatments for the sake of treatments, we take pride in our approach of listening carefully to each and every patient and designing the best care plan for your individual needs.

dental treatment during pregnancyIf you have discovered that you are expecting a child then there are many changes to your body that take effect over the course of your pregnancy and in the weeks and months following the birth.

Understanding these changes is a key factor in terms of managing them, and not many women are aware that during pregnancy their teeth undergo changes too.

What happens to teeth during pregnancy?

In a nutshell, as part of the complex hormonal changes your body is experiencing, women may find that….

  • Their gums start to bleed
  • They experience a greater build up of plaque than usual
  • They may suffer with more sensitive gums or ‘gingivitus’ (red, swollen, tender gums)

Generally speaking, most of the changes are manageable as part of a slightly modified dental routine (for example brushing more gently if your gums are bleeding, visiting the dentist more regularly if you suspect you have a build up of plaque that brushing isn’t tackling effectively), however if you have any concerns you should arrange to see your dentist to get an expert opinion.

Many mums-to-be don’t realise that they are also entitled to some help with dentistry while pregnant.

Dental care for pregnant women

It is important that you have regular dental check-ups throughout your pregnancy, to ensure that none of these changes to your dental health get out of hand and to help you get the most from your dental hygiene routine. Your dentist should be able to offer tips on effective tooth brushing as well as which products are best to use during pregnancy.

Here at CK Dental Practice in Bristol we look forward to helping expectant mothers care for their teeth during and after pregnancy. We are also here to offer help for infant dental care too, once your little ones have arrived and you are looking for advice for how best to care for their teeth and gums.

dental emergency BristolIf we suspect we have broken a bone, have been in an accident or are feeling very unwell, everyone knows that it’s either a trip to A&E or a telephone call to 111. A medical professional will assess the
problem and you’ll be able to get the required treatment quickly.

But what do you do if you suffer a dental emergency? What about if it is out of hours? Do you know how to deal with it and who to contact?

If you lose a filling or a crown, crack or lose a tooth or are suffering from any other form of dental issue – especially over the weekend or in the evening – it can be worrying. A resolution is often required
quickly, as the sooner you act, the sooner it can be fixed and any pain can be treated.

Act fast to mitigate the problem

Although you can call 111 to obtain advice on how to self-treat pain caused by dental issues, NHS Choices, the online medical guidance site, recommends that the first place you should contact is your own dentist.

Here at CK Dental Practice in Bristol we offer emergency dental treatments to help fix your problem and to give you the peace of mind you require.

A trip to A&E may still be required depending on the nature of the problem and what has caused it. If you have been in an accident and are experiencing severe pain (that you are not able to control with over-the-counter painkillers), are losing a lot of blood or have suffered more serious facial trauma, then a visit to the hospital may still be required too.

CK Dental Practice – here to help you

So, remember that if you have a dental emergency then don’t hesitate to get in touch with CK Dental to get the advice and help you require.

We offer emergency dental help, so call us on 0117 906 4872 or email on info@ckdental.co.uk.

gum disease, causes and treatmentGum disease isn’t pleasant and it can result in some rather unfortunate side effects too. If you have ever suffered from gum disease, or “gingivitis” (the medical name for this) then you’ll know that it can cause bleeding gums, red or inflamed gums, receding gums and also bad breath.

Help starts at home

With many illnesses and ailments, they say that ‘prevention is better than cure’ and that is definitely the case for gum disease. If you have a good dental hygiene routine then you will reduce the chance of getting gum disease by restricting the opportunity for bacteria to grow.

A good routine typically involves brushing your teeth at least twice a day (first thing in the morning and last thing at night – for ideally two minutes or more, each time).

Some people will also brush their teeth after lunch, so if you’re prone to oral hygiene issues then this might be something to consider too.

Flossing is also a good idea to ensure that food does not become trapped between the teeth, and if you’re a smoker, consider cutting back or (ideally) quitting, as this can also have a negative effect on your oral hygiene.

Consult the specialists

If you have noticed any of the symptoms of gum disease, and suspect that you may be suffering from it then the first thing to do is contact your dentist to obtain an expert assessment. Here at CK Dental Practice in Bristol, our dentists can assess your condition, talk to you about what may have caused the problem and recommend the most effective solution(s).

Although the symptoms may look and feel alarming, try not to feel too worried. Gum disease is common and can generally be very easily treated.

Other treatments are available

Good oral hygiene can fix many issues relating to gum disease, but sometimes you will require some more specialist treatment to alleviate the problem. For expert help in keeping teeth and gums at their cleanest, your dentist can perform a ‘scale and polish’, which removes plaque and tartar from your teeth.

If your gum disease is more serious, dentists can also consider ‘periodontal surgery’, which restores and regenerates the gums and in some cases, antibiotics may be prescribed to help fix a bacterial problem.

Is your child ready for an electric toothbrush?They used to be perceived as luxury items, but time and technology has reduced the price of electric toothbrushes.

Nowadays, an estimated 40% of all toothbrushes sold are of the electric variety – be they rechargeable or battery-powered – and a lot of them are aimed at kids. But are they the right choice for your child?

Here at CK Dental in Bristol, we get a lot of enquiries from concerned parents on the subject, so here are our thoughts on the subject…

Electric v manual

First things first: yes, in a like-for-like comparison, electric toothbrushes beat the traditional version hands-down. Multiple studies have confirmed that, when used properly, electric toothbrushes remove more plaque than their manual counterparts.

All the original fears about electric toothbrushes – that they contribute more to gum recession, tooth abrasion and gingivitis – have been dispelled.

Are electric toothbrushes safe for kids?

In almost every case, yes. The Oral Health Foundation approved them for one simple reason – that they make a regular chore more fun for children. As long as they meet the basic requirements of an adequate child’s toothbrush – small head, soft nylon bristles, and a handle suitable for the age of the child – there’s nothing to worry about.

However, there are provisos. Firstly, just because the brush is up to the job, it doesn’t necessarily mean the brusher is too.

Dentists recommend that you supervise your child’s brushing regime until the age of 7, but some parents assume that the electric toothbrush will do the job. Obviously, it won’t, if it’s not being used on every tooth for an adequate amount of time.

Secondly, there is a chance that an electric toothbrush will aggravate loose baby teeth. Most children will start to lose theirs between five and seven, but it can happen earlier – and when that happens, it’s wise to switch to a manual one for a while.

Bristol dentist explains which Christmas treats are best for your teethWe’re not far from the opening of the first window of the advent calendar now, so it’s as good a time as any to talk about what you’ll be putting into your mouth a bit more than usual at this time of year.

We all let our diets fall by the wayside over Christmas – whether we want them to or not – but here at CK Dental in Bristol we’re also aware of which particular treats are less kind to our teeth than others…

Nuts

They always seem to make a revival every Christmas, and the good news is that they’re probably the best (or the least harmful) Christmas treat available as they’re loaded with calcium, which is essential for strengthening bones.

Coincidentally enough, the ones with the most calcium are almonds and brazil nuts – which are always abundant on the Christmas buffet spread.

Chocolates

We all know about the effect chocolate has on teeth, but when you compare chocolates to other treats on offer, they come out reasonably OK. That’s because they usually dissolve quickly in the mouth.

Obviously, brushing away the residue sooner rather than later would be helpful.

Hard candies

Yes, you’re theoretically eating less of them compared to chocolate, but due to their nature they take longer to break down and stay in the mouth much longer. There’s also the risk of damaging dental work and chipping your teeth.

Toffees and caramels

The real baddies of the selection tin are the chewy toffees and caramels. Caramels have a habit of lodging in the teeth, causing decay. Toffees are even worse, and can cause a filling to dislodge at a time when the dental clinics are closed.

Pound coins

It’s nice to find one in a Christmas pudding. Not so nice to find it after you’ve bit into it (and yes, it happens)

sensitive toothpastesThere’s a bewildering selection of toothpastes on offer nowadays, and the waters have been muddied somewhat by the rise of ‘sensitive’ toothpastes. Not necessarily by their claims to take the edge off pain, though: here at CK Dental in Bristol, we find them to be very effective.

However, not everyone knows if they actually need them or not.

Why do people suffer from sensitive teeth?

Tooth sensitivity is a very real symptom, especially when it comes to cold food and drink. The most common cause for this is gum recession, which exposes part of the root of the tooth. There are many reasons for gum recession: simple gum disease, aging, and – in certain instances – overbrushing. Or a combination of all three.

What ingredients are in sensitive toothpastes?

Almost all of the sensitive toothpastes on the market can be split into two categories.

The cheaper brands contain two strains of potassium – potassium nitrate and potassium citrate. These work by seeping into the nerve of teeth and preventing it from transmitting pain signals to the brain. The downside to these toothpastes is that they take a while to get to work, so expect to have to used them on a twice-daily basis for two weeks before they start to work.

The more expensive brands, on the other hand, contain ingredients such as strontium, argintine and calcium sodium phosphosilicate. These are a lot faster in taking the edge off, as they block the dentine tubules – the pores located
in the roots of teeth. There are other active ingredients, but they haven’t been clinically proven as yet.

And more often than you’d expect, they don’t contain fluoride, which is absolutely essential in fighting tooth decay.

Our advice: if you’re suffering from tooth sensitivity, come and talk to the team here at our Bristol dental practice as soon as possible, especially if the problem has recently flared up for the first time. We’ll be able to check the condition of your gums, see what’s causing the pain, and advise accordingly.