Why root canal treatment is nothing to be scared of

Root canal treatment are three little words that nobody wants to hear. It can have even the bravest of dental patients feeling somewhat anxious – but in reality, it is nothing to fear. If your dentist says you need it, they are trying to save a tooth that’s at risk of being lost.

root-canal-treatmentThere have been rapid advances in dental techniques and technology over the past few decades, meaning that root canal treatment won’t feel any different to having a standard filling. Your appointment is likely to last longer, however, as this is a skilled and delicate procedure. The length of the procedure will also depend on which tooth is affected, and how many root canals it has.

At Ladbroke Grove Dental Care in W10, most patients who have root canal treatment only need a local anaesthetic, which will numb the affected tooth and ensure that you feel no pain. If you are a very nervous dental patient you should speak to your dentist about sedation options prior to your appointment.

Why you need root canal treatment

The purpose of root canal treatment is to cleanse a tooth of infection. Teeth can become infected through dental decay, or by breakages, chips, or cracks. That’s why even a minor crack should prompt a visit to your dentist, because even a tiny crack is enough to let bacteria enter your tooth.

Infection is often accompanied by a painful swelling – a dental abscess – and if it isn’t treated promptly and effectively it can lead to tooth loss.

How treatment works

The majority of root canal procedures require two or more appointments at our Ladbroke Grove dental clinic. At the first appointment your dentist will numb your tooth and will remove all traces of infection from the pulp at the centre of the tooth, removing all traces of infection using special tools.

You will have a temporary filling fitted so that the tooth can settle. After approximately a week you will be called back to the dental practice for a second appointment, at which your dentist will check the infection has fully cleared, before permanently filling the tooth.

It is often recommended to have a crown placed to reinforce a root-treated tooth, giving it a natural appearance.

The importance of visiting the dental hygienist

The dental hygienist plays just as important a role in looking after your teeth as the dentist does. Many people, when they think of a hygienist, picture a professional tooth clean – often known as a scale and polish. Whilst this is one of the hygienist’s important roles, in fact there is a lot more that they do, too.

dental-hygienistLast year, the General Dental Council (GDC) relaxed the rules on dental hygiene appointments, meaning that you no longer need to visit a dentist before seeing the hygienist. At Downham Market Dental Care in Norfolk we believe that looking after your oral health should be as easy as possible, and accessible to all. That’s why we offer direct access appointments with our skilled and friendly hygienist.

As mentioned, thoroughly cleaning your teeth is an important part of the dental hygienist’s remit. Even those of us with excellent home brushing and flossing routines are likely to have areas that are hard to reach, and it is here that plaque and tartar can build up. A professional scale and polish will remove all traces of both tartar and plaque, which are major causes of gum disease, dental decay, and tooth loss.

Another important function the hygienist provides is to help you develop a more efficient cleaning regime at home. This may include teaching you how to use special tools such as interdental brushes to get to those hard-to-reach areas, which type of toothpaste to use, and advice on tooth brushing technique. It can also include dietary advice, including how to cut down on sugar in your diet, which will improve your oral and general health.

Hygienists are also excellent at removing common stains from the teeth, which may enable you to brighten up your smile without the need for teeth whitening (an excellent option for pregnant and breastfeeding patients, who are advised to avoid teeth whitening).

Sometimes the hygienist can also carry out teeth whitening procedures, although this always has to be on a dentist’s prescription.

Helping to avoid tooth loss and gum disease are vitally important to protecting your general as well as your dental health, because gum disease has been linked to many conditions whilst tooth loss can affect your diet.

Quality dental care for all the family

Regular dental check-ups are important to patients of all ages, from infants to great-grandparents. Clarence House Dental Care in Watton offers dental treatment for all the family, addressing the specific needs specific ages and groups may face.

quality-dental-careBabies and children

Bringing a child to the dental practice from an early age can help them to view visiting the dentist as a positive experience, preventing dental phobia later in life. You should start bringing your baby in for dental check-ups as soon as their teeth start to appear. As well as ensuring that these teeth are developing correctly and are free from dangerous plaque, this helps to familiarise youngster with the practice environment, and to teach them to see the dentist as a friendly face.

As children get older, fissure sealant and fluoride varnish may be offered. These are designed to strengthen and protect the teeth, helping to prevent tooth decay – still a big problem for UK children.

Potential orthodontic issues can often be spotted at an early age, too, making them easier to treat.

Pregnant women

When you are pregnant, your teeth may be the last thing you are thinking about. In fact, there are some dental conditions that are specific to pregnancy, because of the hormonal changes the body is going through.

The commonest concern is pregnancy gingivitis – gum disease. Gum disease is a serious condition but isn’t anything to be scared of if you visit the dentist as soon as you notice symptoms such as bleeding gums.

Pregnant women can also suffer an increased risk of enamel erosion if morning sickness is persistent or severe, whilst pregnancy granuloma – small growths on the gums – can be scary and sometimes uncomfortable. Again, your dentist can help treat or manage these issues.

Older people

Older people also have specific sets of dental needs. This can include needing replacements for natural teeth, with the over-75 age group most likely to wear dentures.

A modern solution to the problem of loose dentures is to have them secured by dental implants, which help to preserve the density of the jaw bone. Denture sore mouth and oral thrush also need to be treated promptly – or ideally avoided.

Teeth whitening: what you need to know

Teeth whitening is the most popular cosmetic dental procedure in the world. Most people want a brighter, whiter smile, so if you are researching your tooth whitening options, read on to learn how to enjoy treatment that is effective, gentle, and safe. . .

Southend Dental Care offers two teeth whitening options, using the popular Polanight and Enlighten systems. After a consultation and examination, your dentist will help you to decide which is the best system for your needs.

teeth-whitening-southendIf you remember only one thing about teeth whitening treatment, it is that a dentist is absolutely essential. In fact, it is the law that only a fully-qualified dentist can prescribe such treatment. A hygienist or hygiene therapist who has undergone suitable additional training can carry out the physical procedure, but only on the prescription of a dentist.

When you think about it, it’s logical and sensible. After all, if you needed a filling, wanted a dental implant, or required some dentures, you would hardly go to anyone other than a dentist. Teeth whitening is classed as dentistry by the General Dental Council (GDC) and should be considered in the same way as any other dental procedure.

Unfortunately, some unscrupulous beauty salons still offer whitening treatment, claiming that it is a cosmetic and not a dental procedure. This is a lie, and a dangerous one. It is a “cosmetic dental” treatment, and the key word in that phrase is dental.

The GDC will prosecute anyone offering illegal dentistry, so if you come across a beautician or anyone else offering the procedure, you should report it to them. Treatment from unqualified providers can be seriously damaging to your teeth and gums.

Similarly, whitening products bought from the internet should be avoided, because you can never be sure what is in them, or whether levels of any bleaching agents are safe.

Whilst products that claim to whiten teeth available from high street chemists or supermarkets are likely to be safe enough, they are also likely to be ineffective.

Remember: only a dentist can provide teeth whitening that is as reliable as it is safe. Average professional teeth whitening takes just two weeks.

How to straighten your smile without metal braces

Whilst orthodontic treatment is now seen as a standard part of growing up for children and teenagers in the UK, many adults missed out on treatment when they were younger (or had treatment but, as is the want of many teenagers, neglected to wear their retainer so that their teeth move back out of line).

metal-braces-north-harrowTherefore, an increasing number of adults are seeking out orthodontic services later in life. There is one major barrier to treatment, and that is the false belief that it has to involve obvious metal braces.

At Imperial Dental Care in Harrow, we appreciate the true value of a true smile, whilst also realising the need for discretion for adult patients undergoing orthodontic treatment. We are proud, therefore, to offer a number of subtler options for teeth straightening. This may involve wearing a fixed brace or a removable aligner.

Discreet orthodontics in Harrow

Six Month Smiles

Six Month Smiles are a popular system of cosmetic braces that work, as you may have guessed from the name, in an average time of just half a year. They act so quickly because they focus on the “social six” front teeth – in other words, the teeth that show when you smile.

It is these teeth the majority of adults are concerned about, so whilst these braces aren’t meant for major correction of issues affecting the bite, if you would like the teeth in your smile line to be straighter, Six Month Smiles could be the perfect choice.

These braces have the additional benefit of comprising clear and tooth-coloured parts, to blend in with your mouth.


FastBraces are available in both metal and tooth-coloured varieties. They have a unique design that enables the movement of both the roots and crowns of the teeth at the same time, significantly shortening treatment times. FastBraces can be used for more extensive correction that some cosmetic braces.

Inman Aligner

This popular clear aligner is designed to quickly correct issues such as protrusion or crowding with the front teeth. The Inman Aligner uses a special coil spring and bar design to push and pull the teeth into a better position – often in a matter of weeks.

Using dental implants to restore your smile – and your health

Dental implants are a long-term, clinically proven method of replacing one or more missing natural teeth. They are designed to be a permanent tooth replacement, and are the only way a dentist can replace the root parts of lost teeth.

dental-implants-basildonTooth roots don’t just keep the crowns of the teeth securely in the mouth; they also play an important role in preserving the health and vitality of the jaw bone. When several or all the teeth are missing for any significant amount of time, the jaw bone will start to resorb. This is the main reason traditional dentures become loose – as the shape of the face changes, so does the fit of your dentures.

With dental implants, common denture woes can be avoided or alleviated. Felmores Dental Care in Basildon has a skilled implantology team who can use dental implants to replace anything from one to all of your natural teeth, giving you a second chance at a mouth full of natural teeth.

Common problems experienced by traditional denture wearers include:

Difficulty eating a varied diet, making it hard to get nutrition

Changes to speech, difficulty speaking with clarity

Denture sore mouth caused by false teeth rubbing on the gums

Social isolation and loneliness as your fear of your teeth falling out causes you to turn down invitations.

Dental implants can help with all of these issues. They are small titanium screws that are placed directly in contact with your jaw bone in a small operation, carried out here at our Basildon clinic under local anaesthetic or sedation.

Titanium is used because it supports bone growth, as well as being compatible with the human body in general. Temporary teeth may be attached in the immediate aftermath of implant placement, because the implants require time to heal and integrate with the jaw bone.

After healing is complete – which takes a few months – your dentist will attach permanent new teeth to the abutments on top of your implants. These may be crowns, a bridge, or a denture.

In the case of denture stabilisation, your dentures will still be removable for cleaning, whilst a bridge or crown should remain in your mouth and be brushed like normal teeth.

Subtler methods of straightening teeth

Straightening your teeth no longer has to involve months or years of wearing metal braces. Clacton Dental Care recognises the need for subtlety as well as efficiency when it comes to teeth straightening treatment for adults, which is why we are proud to offer a number of discreet routes to straighter teeth.

teeth-straighteningMetal braces are still popular with teenagers, who often view them as a rite of passage into adulthood and enjoy the customisation options available with modern appliances, such as being able to adorn your braces with coloured elastics to match the colours of your favourite sports team. Many teenagers now make their braces a fashion statement.

But for adults on a quest for straighter teeth, the thought of a fixed metal appliance can be highly problematic. It’s not particularly compatible with a busy professional lifestyle.

When you come into Clacton Dental Care for an orthodontic consultation, your dentist will perform a thorough clinical examination so that they can recommend the best course of treatment. This may involve the use of a fixed or removable appliance.

Treatment options include:

Quick Straight Teeth

This clear appliance is designed for rapid correction of issues affecting the front teeth. Pretty much invisible to the untrained eye in daily life, Quick Straight Teeth is both highly discreet and very convenient.

A clinically proven method of subtle teeth straightening, average treatment time with Quick Straight Teeth is between four and 24 weeks.


FastBraces are fixed braces comprising clear and tooth-coloured parts, meaning they blend in with the natural colour of your teeth. Unlike traditional braces, which move the roots and crowns of the teeth separately, FastBraces have a unique design which enables them to move both parts of the teeth together for considerably shortened treatment times.

They are suitable for both children and adults, and can be an ideal option for image-conscious teenagers who don’t qualify for NHS metal braces. Average treatment time is three to 12 months.


One of the most popular clear aligner systems in the world, Invisalign involves the use of a series of clear aligners to progressively move your teeth over six to 18 months. You change your aligner fortnightly, and remove them for eating, drinking, and cleaning.

How to beat fear of the dentist for good

It’s more common than you might think to be afraid of the dentist. Approximately one in ten adults in the UK is so anxious about dental treatment that they put off visiting the dentist until an emergency arises. This can make anxiety worse, as dental emergencies tend to be painful and frightening, so you are likely to in a heightened state of stress already.

sedation-dentistryThe good news is that in the 21st Century dental anxiety no longer needs to be a barrier to treatment. Most dentists are now sympathetic to the needs of nervous dental patients, and there are a number of ways to get the treatment you need to restore you to oral health.

If you haven’t visited a dental practice in decades, you may be pleasantly surprised by the advances that have taken place in recent years. Modern dentistry is by-and-large pain-free, with improvements to techniques, equipment, and materials.

Sometimes, a chat with an understanding dentist can be enough to help you get treatment. At Homewood Dental Practice in Brentwood, our dentists are always happy to spend all the time you need talking to you about any treatments required, and what can be done to help you back to health.

A popular option at our Brentwood clinic is to have treatment under conscious sedation. This is different from general anaesthetic, where you would be asleep. With conscious sedation you will be awake, but largely unaware of treatment, will feel peaceful, relaxed, and safe – and most importantly, pain free.

Most people who have treatment under dental sedation remember very little about it afterwards, and are often surprised at how different their teeth look and feel once the sedatives wear off.

It’s important to bring a friend with you to your appointment if you are having conscious sedation, because the sedative drugs can take a while to fully leave your system, and you will not be allowed to drive until they have fully worn off. You also shouldn’t operate any machinery, cook, or even boil a kettle.

Your dentist will provide you with full pre- and post-sedation instructions, and you will be carefully monitored during treatment.

Smile makeovers: creating the ideal smile for every face

Contrary to what some people believe, cosmetic dentistry doesn’t have to involve lengthy or invasive procedures. At South Benfleet Dental Care we are of the belief that everyone deserves a smile to be proud of. If you are unhappy with any aspect of yours, a smile makeover consultation could be the perfect answer.

smile-makeoverNearly half of the UK population (48%) dislike the way that their current smile looks. The biggest complaint is about the colour of the teeth (64%). If this is the reason behind your unhappiness, cosmetic dentistry offers a number of solutions.

When you come into South Benfleet Dental Care for a cosmetic dentistry consultation, your dentist will spend some time getting to know a bit about you, what you dislike about your current smile, and what your ideal smile would look like.

After performing a thorough clinical examination, they will talk you through all the relevant treatment options to achieve your smile goals. It may involve a single procedure or a combination of two or more; whatever your concerns and needs, your cosmetic dentist will create you a fully personalised treatment plan, detailing the order and length of any procedures you may need, so that there are no unexpected surprises further down the line.

To brighten up your teeth, the dentist needs to establish what the root cause behind any staining or discolouration is. Teeth become stained easily through a range of modern lifestyle factors – diet, smoking, even using some medicated mouthwashes or as a side-effect of some medications.

For this type of staining, teeth whitening is an excellent option. As long as it is carried out by a professional dentist, whitening is gentle, fast-acting, predictable, and safe.

Permanent tooth discolouration requires a different approach. Porcelain veneers are a staple of the smile makeover process. They can mask a permanently stained tooth, as well as improving the appearance of teeth suffering from a range of other issues, from small chips to minor issues with spacing/alignment.

In the case of visible metal fillings, a dentist can safely remove these and replace them with composite tooth-coloured fillings or, when extra strength is needed, with a porcelain inlay or onlay.

Dental care for children and pregnant women

Dental care priorities can change with age, and Ladbroke Grove Dental Care offers comprehensive, fully-customised care and treatment for patients of all ages. Good dental habits begin in infancy, and it’s important to introduce your child to the concept of visiting the dentist from a young age.

children-dentistryWhen Baby gets his first tooth, it’s a very exciting time for Mum and Dad, and an important milestone in his development. It should also be the time that you think about taking him for his first appointment with the dentist. As soon as Baby’s first teeth start to appear, you should book him in for a check-up.

The primary focus of these earliest dental appointments is to familiarise Baby with the dental practice environment. It can be beneficial for him to come to Dad or Mum’s check-up, or tag along with older siblings.

Babies enjoy observing and copying what they see, so if he watches someone else sitting in the chair and letting the dentist look inside their mouth, he can then have a turn himself, copying what he has seen.

The dentist will also check for any early warning signs of potential problems, and can help you learn how to brush your baby’s teeth correctly.

As a child ages, it is important to avoid the risk of tooth decay, which too many children in the UK still suffer from, causing unneeded pain, distress, and sometimes requiring tooth extractions. Protecting your child’s teeth includes helping them watch what they eat (cheese or vegetables can be a good alternative to sugary snacks) and developing an effective brushing routine.

The dentist can also apply fissure sealant and fluoride varnish to children’s teeth, which strengthens and helps to protect them.

Dental care during pregnancy

If Baby hasn’t arrived yet, you may be experiencing some unexpected dental symptoms. Pregnancy causes large hormonal changes in the body, which can lead to pregnancy gingivitis – gum disease.

This is common and nothing to worry about, as long as you visit your dentist as soon as you notice anything suspicious. If you have bad morning sickness, you may also suffer acid erosion of the teeth – again, your dentist will help you manage this, so that you can get back to preparing for Baby’s arrival.