1. Mouth Cancer Action Month

    16th November 2017 by harpenden

    Mouth Cancer Action Month runs throughout November and is designed primarily to raise awareness of mouth cancer, highlighting what it is and what the signs and symptoms are for early detection. This early detection can literally save lives, so it is important to spread the word.

    Mouth Cancer – Signs and Symptoms

    If you notice any changes in your mouth or are worried about your oral health in any way, it is important to make an appointment to visit your dentist. Some of the symptoms of mouth cancer are listed below:-

    • Mouth ulcers that do not heal or go away in three weeks
    • Unusual lumps or swellings in the mouth or head or neck area
    • Red and white patches in the mouth

    Mouth Cancer – Examination

    The good news is that as part of the drive to reduce mouth cancer, dentists already perform visual checks when you visit for a check-up. This visual examination is nothing to be concerned about, and usually consists of:-

    • A visual check of the head and neck to see if there are any noticeable swellings or bumps.
    • A feel of your lips, they may pull down the lower lip to see if there are any sores or changes in colour. Upper lips will also be checked.
    • A check of the roof of your mouth to see any change in colour or any lumps.
    • A look at your tongue, they may ask you to stick it out and move it from side to side to check for ulcers.
    • A check for lumps, swellings or ulcers on the floor of the mouth.

    If you notice any unusual lumps, bumps or changes in colour within your mouth, face and neck, the message is clear ‘ if in doubt get checked out.’

    Mouth Cancer – Who is affected

    Sadly, mouth cancer takes the lives of over 2,000 people every year. This figure is more than testicular cancer, and cervical cancer put together. If mouth cancer is spotted early, then the chances of recovery are good. That is why it is so important to keep up with those six-monthly check-up appointments with your dentist. These appointments are important even if you wear dentures and particularly if you smoke and drink alcohol.

    Mouth cancer can affect anyone of any age. Mouth cancers have traditionally been found more commonly in men over 40. However, research has shown that mouth cancer is now becoming more common in younger patients and women.

    There are many ways to get involved in Mouth Cancer Awareness Month. Please see further information on the Oral Health Foundation website at: www.mouthcancer.org/get-involved


  2. Harpenden Smiles – The Importance of Mouth Guards When Playing Contact Sport

    9th August 2017 by harpenden

    So, what’s the definition of a contact sport?

    ‘It is a sport in which the participants necessarily come into bodily contact with one another.’ Sports such as football, hockey, rugby and boxing are all considered contact sports and mouth guards should be worn by those participants. Just as you’d wear a helmet when riding your bike, you wear a mouth guard while playing sports.

    Mouth guards really are an essential bit of kit when it comes to playing sports. Dental injuries are the most common type of facial injury in sports, and a mouth guard can protect your teeth, jaw, neck and brain. They most commonly protect you against chipped or broken teeth and broken or dislocated jawbones. In fact, according to The American Dental Association, 200,000 oral injuries are prevented every year by wearing a mouth guard.

    The new rugby season is nearly upon us and all participants at our local club, the Harpenden Rugby Club, will require a mouth guard to be able to play. We are pleased to announce that Harpenden Smiles has teamed up with the Harpenden Rugby Club and will be offering a mobile clinic to tailor make your sports mouth guards on 31st August 2017.

    To get a mouth guard fitted, you can attend the Harpenden Rugby Club on 31st August 2017 between 17:00-18:00. Please send us a message on Facebook with your preferred time slot and your email address, and we will reply confirming your booking via email.

    We can create the mouth guards in just two days, which is a task in itself, but to top it off, the mouth guards can also be branded and are available in a great range of colours.
    If you can’t make it on the day, just call the practice on 01582 763420 to book your mouth guard fitting appointment.

    It only takes one sporting accident to destroy your smile, as well as your bite, so avoid the time, money and pain that an oral injury could cause by wearing a perfectly fitted mouth guard. If you keep it in your sports bag, you will always have it to hand for when the time arises that you play sport and need to be protected.


    Event:
    Sports Mouth Guard Fittings
    Date: 31st August 2017
    Time: 17:00 – 18:00
    Venue: Harpenden Rugby Club


  3. National Smile Month tries to reduce our dental anxiety

    22nd May 2017 by harpenden

    Did you know that as many as two-thirds of Brits, some 67%, of people admit to being apprehensive when it comes to visiting the dentist for a check-up? This statistic came from Oral Health Foundation and Oral-B, and the poll also showed that the biggest reason behind this apprehension was the fear of pain and discomfort, followed closely by worries about the dental costs.

    Campaigners from the charity initiative, National Smile Month, which is currently running from May 15th to June 15th, are hoping to alleviate some of this stress and anxiety associated with visiting your dentist. They are looking to reassure patients that there is nothing to be nervous about while visiting your dentist and the importance of overcoming this anxiety to look after your oral health.

    Oral-B Ambassador, Dr Uchenna Okoye, has suggested five different ways that people can eliminate dental concerns and anxieties, which we detail here;

    1) Communication – Speak with your dentist about any fears you have. A good dentist will always take your fears seriously, and they are well trained to deal with anxious patients. You could speak with friends or family members for recommendations of good dentists.
    2) Easy does it – if you ease yourself into dental appointments, this may make your visits easier. You could start gradually and make an appointment for a check-up and clean and polish, then work up to a more extensive treatment appointment once the trust has been established between the dentist and patient.
    3) The Early bird catches the worm – not literally of course, but if you book an early appointment, you will have less time to dwell on any worries. Plus you could always take a friend or family member with you.
    4) Music to my ears – you could try taking headphones and your own music to listen to. This can put people at ease during their appointment.
    5) Prevention is better than cure – if you look after your oral health by brushing twice a day, regularly flossing, using mouthwash and visiting your dentist every six months, this can aid in preventing any dental issues occurring in the first place.

    Here at Harpenden Smiles, we welcome nervous patients. From the first time you enter our dental practice, you will be greeted by a friendly smile at our reception, and this welcoming approach will continue throughout your time with us. We want you to have a smile-filled dental experience.

    If you would like a consultation or to book an appointment, please call: 01582 280 745 or visit our website at: http://harpendensmiles.co.uk/about-us/our-promise/

    For further information on how to reduce anxiety while visiting the dentist, please visit: http://www.nationalsmilemonth.org/health-charity-sets-five-ways-help-reduce-dental-anxiety/


  4. Child tooth removal is at ‘crisis point’ doctors warn

    28th March 2017 by harpenden

    Child tooth removal is at ‘crisis point’ doctors warn (BBC News). Shocking figures are revealing that hospitals in England are seeing thousands (26 000) of very young children (aged five to nine) each year needing baby teeth removed!

    A national dental health survey found almost half of eight-year-olds have signs of decay in their milk teeth. Tooth decay is preventable – largely by limiting sugary food and drink and making sure children visit the dentist regularly, as well as brushing their teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.

    With this in mind, the team at Harpenden Smile’s had another great day teaching the kids from a local school in Harpenden about looking after their teeth – we are on the mission!

    “Despite NHS dental treatment being free for under-18s, 42% of children did not see a dentist in 2015-16.”


  5. Thinking about Dental Implants – How do they work?

    20th March 2017 by harpenden

    Dental Implants are an artificial replacement for a tooth’s root. They fit directly into your jawbone and hold crowns or false teeth in place. They work in the same way as roots work with natural teeth.

    A dental implant, which is usually cylindrical or a tapered post made of titanium, is placed surgically into the jawbone. As you heal, the implant will fuse with your natural jawbone, and the two grow together to form a very strong and long-lasting foundation for your replacement teeth. This fusing and healing process can take anything from a few weeks to a few months.

    Once the implant fuses with the jawbone, a small connector called an abutment is placed on top of the dental implant to connect the implant to the replacement tooth or teeth. The individual tooth, dentures or an implant-supported bridge are then attached to the abutment.

    So, you’ve decided to take the plunge; what happens next?

    You’ll be asked to have some x-rays so that your dentist can check where your nerves are and the shape of your jawbone and decide where best to place the implant. If the x-rays do not provide enough information, you may require a CT scan.
    You will more than likely be given local anaesthetic for the procedure, this completely blocks the pain in your mouth, but you will stay awake throughout the procedure. You may also be given a sedative, which can relax any anxiety you may feel and to help you completely relax.

    Occasionally you may have to go into hospital and have a general anaesthetic, but this is fairly rare.

    Aftercare of your dental implants

    Your dentist will give you instructions on how to look after your implant, and they may give you some painkillers. Cleaning around the teeth attached to the implants is just like cleaning your natural teeth, but there may be some hard to reach areas, and you should be shown how to clean these areas.

    You may need to visit your dental hygienist more often. If you look after your implants, they can last as long as your natural teeth.

    Top tip – it is really important that the dentist who performs your procedure has had training in placing implants. Don’t be afraid to ask your dentist how much experience they have with fitting dental implants.

    For further information visit our website at www.harpendensmiles.co.uk/dental-care/restorative-dentistry/dental-implants
    Or call for a consultation or to book an appointment on 01582 280 745.


  6. Introducing Six Month Smiles

    22nd February 2017 by harpenden

    Here at Harpenden Smiles Dental Studio, the dental practice in Harpenden, we have a promise, and that is that we aim for smiles all round. From the moment we greet you with a friendly smile at our reception, we aim to keep up this welcoming approach and give you a smile-filled dental experience.

    We do this by providing top quality dental care using modern equipment and the latest treatment techniques while listening responsively and keeping you informed at every step of the way.

    Our ethos is simple. It just means we will look after you exceptionally well by:

  7. Offering excellent dental care using superior materials and equipment
  8. Getting to know you, as well as your mouth
  9. Helping you look after your budget
  10. Offering flexible appointment times
  11. Keeping things confidential
  12. As well as all this, we are pleased to announce that we are now offering the amazing teeth straightening system, known as Six Month Smiles®.

    Six Month Smiles®

    Many adults feel self-conscious about their teeth because they are crooked. If you are one of these people, Six Month Smiles® can swiftly and discreetly move your teeth into line, providing you with a smile you will want to show off.

    You really are not alone, there are many adults who are afraid to show off their misaligned teeth that are also reluctant to wear very noticeable braces, or they may be concerned that other corrective procedures could be overly expensive or simply take too long.

    Dr Bianna Espinal, at our practice, can provide a safe, swift and affordable orthodontic solution using the smart Six Month Smiles® system. This revolutionary combination of proven orthodontic techniques, modern materials and innovation uses custom-made tooth coloured brackets and wires to gently align teeth in an average time of just six months.

    Six Month Smiles® is a speedier solution to conventional braces as it only focuses on those teeth that show when you smile. It is concerned with the final cosmetic result rather than the adjustment of your ‘bite’.

    How does it Work?

    We take impressions of your teeth so the brackets and wires can be custom-made. When ready, the brackets are securely fixed to your teeth and the wires attached. The brackets and wires are tooth-coloured so are barely noticeable.

    As the position of your teeth will alter fairly rapidly over the next few months, you will need to have regular check-ups and adjustments every five to six weeks.

    Once your treatment is finished, and your teeth are in their final position, we recommend you wear a retainer to prevent your straighter teeth moving back to their old position.
    The dental practice are offering free consultations regarding Six Month Smiles® for a limited period so don’t delay and call the practice today to book yours on 01582 280 742.

    Category: BlogComments (0)


  13. Keeping your teeth free from harm this New Year!

    12th January 2017 by harpenden

    It’s a brand new year and we’ve all being making some New Year resolutions; maybe it’s to eat more healthily and do more exercise, maybe it’s to see the positive in things and people; whatever your resolutions are, we’d like you to spare a thought for your teeth. You really would miss them if they disappeared completely.

    We all know the basics:-
    • Clean your teeth morning and night for 2 minutes each time
    • Floss every day
    • Use a mouth wash daily
    • Visit your dentist every 6 months for check ups and cleaning

    But what about the best foods for our teeth? It’s thought that the best food choices for the general health of your mouth include cheeses, milk, chicken and other meats and nuts. These foods are thought to protect tooth enamel by providing the calcium and phosphorus needed to remineralise teeth (a natural process whereby minerals are redeposited in tooth enamel after being removed by acids).

    Other good food options include firm/crunchy fruit and vegetables. Crunchy foods often have a high water content, which dilutes the effects of the sugars they contain, and helps to produce saliva, which can wash away bacteria that cause plaque and to keep the mouth in a less acidic state.

    The high level of sugar in your diet is often seen as the main culprit in tooth decay. However, this is not entirely true, it is the frequency that the sugar is consumed, rather than the volume of sugar to blame. This is due to the fact that teeth are under acid attack from sugary food and drinks for up to an hour after you’ve consumed them. Therefore, it is important to limit sugary food and drinks to mealtimes and to not snack on them throughout the day. Drinking water after meals and snacks and chewing sugar-free gum can also eliminate the acid more quickly.

    If you have red, swollen gums that bleed when you brush or use dental floss then you may have gum disease (gingivitis). Many people worry when they notice their gums are bleeding and may brush more gently or even stop flossing completely. In fact, it’s important to maintain regular cleaning to combat the gum disease. If the bleeding doesn’t stop within a week, then contact your dental practice to ask for their advice.


  14. Is your mouth taking a hit from e-cigarettes?

    14th November 2016 by harpenden

    When they first came on the scene, unless they were designed to mimic the real thing, e-cigarettes looked rather strange, with their barrels of exotically coloured liquids and mysterious vapour. Now these electronic devices are everywhere and ‘vaping’ has become hugely popular.

    As a dental practice, we are interested in the impact these now ubiquitous e-cigs may have on oral health but, despite the direct contact their emissions have with the mouth, there has been scant attention paid to the potential oral side effects of ‘vaping’, or indeed how it can affect the body as a whole.

    The ins and outs of e-cigs

    E-cigs have appeared in a variety of guises over the years and are now much more technologically advanced than they once were. The ‘first generation’ looked like larger than life cigarettes with glowing LED tips, but they now resemble space age screwdrivers and often have added features such as variable voltage systems and digital displays. Despite external appearances, they all share the same goal – to provide a pleasurable smoke-free experience.

    So how do they manage to mimic conventional smoking? The e-cig solution, containing diluents, flavouring and usually nicotine, is drawn through an atomiser which heats up this liquid concoction to produce a ‘vapour’ that is then inhaled. This process replicates how tobacco is traditionally smoked, which is why e-cigs are so popular with smokers. There is also a dizzying array of flavours on offer, from tobacco and menthol, right through to less obvious choices such as candy floss, bubble gum and pumpkin pie!

    Why ‘vape’?

    Mainly used by smokers and ex-smokers, e-cigs are generally viewed as an effective smoking cessation aid or as a way to reduce tobacco use. Many health experts agree that if ‘vaping’ is used to help stop smoking, it can reduce the risk of developing oral cancer and gum disease, as well as a whole host of other unwelcome health problems.

    Like tobacco products, e-cig liquids contain nicotine, however, it is not this addictive chemical that contributes to the serious health issues associated with smoking, but rather the toxic constituents of tobacco smoke and tar. These are also responsible for unpleasant mouth matters such as bad breath and teeth staining. That’s why ‘vaping’ is considered less damaging to your oral and general health, and preferable to lighting up.

    So are there any known negative effects?

    Toxins have been found in e-cigs but at a much lower level than in tobacco smoke. It’s important to remember, however, that ‘vaping’ is not akin to breathing fresh mountain air and never will be. Most ‘e-juices’ (the flavoured liquids) contain nicotine and this can contribute to oral problems. That’s because it is a vasoconstrictor, which means it reduces the amount of blood that can flow through your veins so the gums (the essential support for your precious teeth) don’t get the oxygen and nutrients they need to stay in tip top condition. This may increase the risk of developing gum inflammation (gingivitis) which can lead to serious gum disease (periodontitis). However, nicotine may actually mask the signs of gum disease because the reduced blood flow means your dentist or hygienist may not be able to spot the typical symptoms of redness and bleeding.

    Nicotine can also inhibit your body’s ability to produce saliva and a dryer mouth means an increased chance of plaque build-up, which can lead to bad breath, tooth decay and gum disease.

    The jury may still be out on the safety of e-cigarettes, but the general consensus is that they are not as dangerous as puffing on tobacco and can help smokers cut down or kick the habit completely. However, if you do indulge in ‘vaping’, you may need to pay a little more attention to your oral health, by making sure you attend regular check-ups and hygiene visits, and developing an effective teeth cleaning routine.


  15. Stop Halloween becoming dental hell for tiny teeth

    25th October 2016 by harpenden

    Of course you want your children to enjoy dressing up and getting into the Halloween spirit but how do you stop this sugar-filled celebration turning into a dental nightmare?

    Take control of the treats

    • Cook up a flavoursome feast before your eager witches and wizards head out on their treat finding quest. A satisfying meal will fill them up and hopefully make them less likely to eat too many of those tempting treats.
    • Try to ration any collected candy by letting little ones enjoy only a small helping each day. It’s also best if you restrict sweet eating to mealtimes.

    Treat teeth kindly

    If you’re handing out treats, safeguard young teeth by trying the following:

    • Give little visitors toys instead of sweets (but make sure they are age appropriate).
    • Choose sugar-free sweeties for a tasty, yet tooth-friendly, treat.
    • Offer to buy back sweets and exchange for a less sugary reward, such as a trip to the cinema or a new toy.

    Protect their pearly whites

    If your children do overindulge, make sure you give their teeth a good brush afterwards. This will help to get rid of bacteria-filled plaque which can create tooth-harming acid when it reacts with sugar.

    Your trick or treaters will probably be well past the baby and toddler stage, so try out these tips for keeping older kids’ teeth clean at this time of year:

    • If a toothbrush is not readily available, encourage youngsters to drink water after eating sweets as it will help wash away the sugar.
    • If still under seven, your children may need a helping hand with teeth cleaning and, even if they’re older, you should still check they are brushing properly. Use a fluoride toothpaste but if your child is under seven, make sure it’s only a pea-sized amount.
    • Brush (or let them brush) for two to three minutes for smooth, sparkly teeth.
    • Make tooth brushing fun by using a novelty timer or singing a Halloween themed song.
    • It’s a good idea not to rinse with water after cleaning teeth as it can wash away all the tooth-friendly fluoride, so encourage your child to simply spit out the toothpaste.

    There are ways you can cope with the onslaught of sweets on 31st October but remember, it is only one day of the year so try not to worry too much. Just keep an eye on how many sweets are being consumed (if possible) and give teeth a good clean before your children head off to bed.


  16. Disease detectives

    7th October 2016 by harpenden

    We all know eagle eyed dentists can spot tooth decay and gum disease but did you know their detective work can also help identify conditions that affect other parts of your body too.

    Also, when your dentist gives you advice, it’s wise to take heed and stay on top of your oral hygiene as poor dental health can increase your risk of developing certain diseases, including:

    Dementia

    Inadequate dental hygiene can suggest that a patient is perhaps not looking after themselves as well as they once were. Neglect of daily routines may be a sign of dementia as this condition can cause memory loss and confusion. Also, studies have shown that older people who brush their teeth less frequently are more likely to develop this disorder.

    Heart problems

    Keeping your mouth in peak condition can help protect your precious ticker. If the bacteria in plaque is left to stick around, it can contribute to the development of heart disease.

    Oral cancer

    Signs of this increasingly prevalent disease can be spotted by your helpful dentist. Oral cancer screening is now routinely carried out during check-ups, which can aid early detection and successful treatment.

    Anaemia

    If the lining of the mouth is very pale coloured or the tongue smooth looking, the dentist may suspect anaemia.

    Diabetes

    Diabetics are more prone to gum disease, so bleeding gums or wobbly teeth may be indicators of this auto-immune disease. A dry mouth can also indicate diabetes, as can slower healing.

    Osteoporosis

    Most common in post-menopausal women, osteoporosis can cause the bones to become fragile and that includes the bone that holds your teeth in place. This thinning of the bones may show up as receding gums and wobbly teeth.

    Acid reflux

    Erosion of tooth enamel, particularly on the upper back molars, can indicate gastro-oesophageal reflux (GERD); a digestive disorder that causes stomach acid to find its way back into the oesophagus and the mouth. You’ll thank your dentist for spotting this damage to your teeth as GERD can cause erosion of the oesophagus and even cancer.

    Stress

    Stress can have a number of unpleasant effects on the body, including teeth grinding (bruxism). This can happen while a patient is asleep, so they may be unaware they have a problem until the dentist notices tooth wear.

    Rheumatoid arthritis

    Jaw swelling and an inability to open the mouth properly may indicate that the patient is suffering from rheumatoid arthritis – an auto-immune disease that can affect people of all ages.

    So, if you want to keep your mouth and the rest of your body in the very best of health, make sure you see us regularly – your next check-up might turn out to be a real lifesaver!


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