Do you ponder why a dental professional prods your gums during a check-up?

At our surgery, our dentist in West Byfleet is a strong advocate of regular maintenance of teeth and gums, so we are avid supporters of the notion that all of our patients attend biannual check-ups. Prevention is better than cure after all!

In this article, our dentist in West Byfleet answers queries that we receive about general check-ups.

Should I state if I’m nervous before a check-up?

Yes, you should always state when you are booking your assessment with our dentist in West Byfleet if you have a dental phobia.

This will allow our team to make suitable accommodation for you, such as offering early morning appointments and, if necessary, having a non-clinical meeting where you and our team can talk about dental phobias and any concerns that you may have.

Why do dental professionals prod my gums during check-ups?

Ah yes, the hook in the gum routine that is part of a dental assessment!

In short, poking areas of your gums with a sickle probe allows us to assess the texture of your gums. This is important for determining if you are developing gum disease, as gums that are becoming inflamed are often more sponge-like in texture than healthy gums.

So, while it can be annoying, it does serve a clinical purpose. We may also examine your teeth with it to assess the strength of the enamel.

Can you tell if I’ve been smoking?

Ye, we can!

Many patients believe that if they use whitening toothpaste and are diligent brushers, that our team will not be able to detect that they have been smoking. But this is not true.

Smoking does more to your teeth than simply discolour them; it can lead to an accumulation of plaque building up, as it prevents your salivary glands from working properly, which removes harmful bacteria from your teeth.

It also exposes your gums to many toxic chemicals, which can cause them to swell, bleed and discolour.

Will you be able to clean my white fillings at a check-up?

After the COVID-19 pandemic, many patients have missed a couple of dental check-ups, due to the policy of dental teams only seeing emergency patients.

If you have white fillings or crowns, this may have led to some staining on or around the filling, making it more visible as tannins and bacteria settle into the cracks.

At your check-up, provided that there is no decay, we can happily remove stains from around your fillings with our polishing drill, making your teeth appear smoother and cleaner. Great!

Can I ask you about cosmetic work at a check-up?

Of course, you can!

It is the perfect time to ask our team about cosmetic work. Once we have looked at your teeth and gums and determined that your general dental health is in good condition, you can begin to discuss aesthetic procedures with us.

At Byfleet Dental Boutique, we can offer you anything from dental whitening to dental implants so, if you have any issues with how your smile looks or makes you feel, talk to our team about cosmetic options.

Do you want to whiten your smile with dental veneers, but have some questions about the process?

At Byfleet Dental Boutique, our dentist in West Byfleet has helped many of our patients rejuvenate and whiten their smiles using the deployment of dental veneers, and would be happy to discuss suitability for this treatment with you in our clinic.

Have some questions about veneers? Here, our dentist in West Byfleet answers the most common questions that we receive about this procedure, so enjoy!

Does having veneers fitted hurt?

In a word, no.

When our dentist in West Byfleet fits veneers, we gently scrape or sand the front of the tooth or teeth that we want to attach the veneers to. This creates a rough surface that we can then apply the dental cement to.

Once the cement is applied, we will gently press the veneers on and wait for the cement to harden. And thus very quickly, the veneers are in place.

If you experience any uncomfortable sensations when we are fitting your veneers, please let us know!

How long does the process take?

From the initial consultation to the fitting itself, the process takes around 2-4 weeks.

At the consultation, we will assess your suitability for veneers and we will either use a mould to get an impression of your teeth, or we will use an intraoral scanner.

The mould or scan is then sent to a dental laboratory, where the veneers are made to fit your teeth out of either porcelain or composite.

Once back, the fitting process itself can take up to an hour, depending on how many veneers are being fitted.

Are they stain-resistant?

The natural enamel on our teeth is quite porous and so, when we eat or drink foods that are high in tannins, staining occurs over time.

However, with dental veneers, the materials used (either porcelain or composite) are less porous than enamel, and so they are less likely to become stained due to eating or drinking certain foods.

Also, depending on the shade of teeth you want to achieve, we can whiten your smile with the placement of veneers by up to 18 shades.

Can I smoke while wearing veneers?

You can smoke while wearing veneers, but as a general rule, we would advise against it.

This is not necessarily to do with the staining that occurs with smoking (although that is a factor) but more to do with how smoking impacts the health of your teeth and gums.

Smoking exposes your gums to an array of harmful chemicals that can cause them to become inflamed, which in turn, often leads to gum disease. Inflamed gums can cause veneers to pop off and so, the team at our practice will always advise against smoking.

How long will they last?

With correct care, veneers can easily last 15 years or more.

As mentioned earlier, correct care involves not smoking or drinking excessive amounts of alcohol and involves maintaining good dental hygiene while at home.

You will also need to see our team every 6 months for check-ups.

Interested to learn more about dental implants?

At Byfleet Dental Boutique, our dentist in West Byfleet knows a thing or two about these clever restoratives and can answer any questions that you may have about the fitting, aftercare and history of implants.

In this article, our dentist in West Byfleet explores lesser-known facts about dental implants, to help you expand your knowledge of these clever restoratives. Enjoy!

Fact 1- There is no upper age limit

Many patients ask our dentist in West Byfleet if they are too old to have dental implants fitted and, in short, the answer is no!

If you have good overall oral and general health and of course, if you have enough jawbone to accommodate them, you will probably be suitable for having oral implants fitted.

Fact 2- There are different kinds of dental implants

The most commonly used type of dental implant is an endosteal implant; visually, these look like titanium screws, which are fitted to the jaw and over time they fuse with the bone.

But there are other types too; the most commonly used if you are not able to have regular implants is subperiosteal, which is a titanium frame that is fitted underneath the gums, but on top of the bone.

There are also mini or micro implants (which are just smaller versions of the endosteal implant) and zygomatic, which are used on the upper jaw and are attached to the zygoma or cheekbone.

Fact 3- Dental implants are not new

Many people think that the idea of having teeth implanted into the jaw is new, but it isn’t.

Historically, there have been skulls dated to 2500 BC that show people have been trying to replace missing teeth using mechanics and other people's teeth for a long time - even if it was unsuccessful!

Indeed, even the ancient Mayans in around 600 AD used a hammer and seashells as a basis for what we may now know as dental implants.

Fact 4-They can help with digestion

It is easy to forget that our teeth are part of our digestive system.

And as such, for food to be correctly broken down, it needs to be ground up and chewed; this is harder to do if you have missing teeth. Many people who have a missing tooth or teeth struggle with secondary digestive issues, such as acid reflux, due to larger pieces of poorly chewed food reaching their stomach.

Dental implants allow you to bite into and chew food more effectively, thus enabling you to digest it easier and faster.

Fact 5- Not everyone is suitable

While the majority of dental patients are suitable for dental implants, there are instances where you may not be suited to the process, the fusing or indeed, you may have a condition that impacts the longevity of the implants.

If you have a blood clotting disorder, such as haemophilia, this will not render you unsuitable for implants, but it can complicate the fitting process. Successful fusing can be harder if you have osteoporosis and can impact the longevity of implants too. There are alsolifestyle choices that can impact the longevity of implants, such as smoking and consuming excessive amounts of alcohol.