What is a mouth cancer screening and how can I try to prevent mouth cancer?

Mouth cancer is also known as oral cancer, and occurs when a tumour develops in the lining of the mouth. Mouth cancer can occur in a variety of places within the mouth, such as the cheeks, the tongue, as well as the roof of the mouth (commonly known as the palate). Tumours can also be found within the glands of the mouth, (that essentially produce saliva), as well as the tonsils and pharynx (part of the throat connecting the mouth to your windpipe).

Mouth Cancer Screening in OrpingtonA mouth cancer screening is essentially an examination undergone by one of our dental healthcare professionals, in order to attempt to spot the stages of mouth cancer early ( a form of preventative dentistry). During a mouth cancer screening, certain areas of the mouth will be assessed and analysed.

There are a variety of steps our patients can take in order to prevent mouth cancer from occurring. One lifestyle choice you can make is to limit the amount of alcohol you consume (for example, not consuming more than the recommended weekly amount). Smoking can also be a huge factor in reducing the chances of oral cancer from occuring. One other lifestyle factor, which can greatly affect your chances of developing mouth cancer, is your diet; consuming plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as fish and oils (also known as a Mediterranean diet) can help to prevent cancer.

What are the symptoms of mouth cancer?

One obvious signs of oral cancer can be mouth ulcers, which may be sore and last for several weeks without going away (like normal mouth ulcers). Lumps within the mouth may also be a symptom; these are typically unexplained and do not go away. Lumps within the neck, looseness of teeth, as well as a strange feeling within the lips, are also symptoms.

What can I expect from a mouth cancer screening?

During your mouth screening with us, you may either have some expectations or have no idea what to expect. Essentially, the process is simple, and relatively quick, however it is  important, and should be undergone twice a year.

Your mouth screening will be extremely shorter than you expect, and you will be assessed using a hand held device to check for any lumps or lesions you may have. Using this hand held device will check for any potential risk factors, which means a correct treatment can be diagnosed by us as quickly as possible.

Why is it important for me to see the dentist?

Mouth cancer is extremely dangerous; this is why it is important to visit us regularly for check-ups, and if you have anything you view as a concern (such as a small lump or ulcer) then it is recommended that you see us straight away. It is vital for our patients to learn how to detect the signs and symptoms of mouth cancer early, in order to ensure the health of your mouth, and decrease the risk of developing cancer.

Clear braces in Orpington

If you have always been self-conscious about your smile and feel like your teeth could be straighter, there are dental treatments that are available to help you to correct your teeth and improve your smile.

Clear Braces in OrpingtonIn recent years, many adult patients are opting to correct their teeth by orthodontic treatment such as braces. Commonly made out of metal braces and a wire, these braces are fixed onto your teeth and the wire gently guides your teeth into the desired position. A successful treatment, fixed braces have many benefits. As they are fixed, they provide excellent control of your teeth and you can rest assured that your teeth are moving due to the brackets and the wires. They are also usually tightened by your dentist every few appointments, which provides further reassurance that your teeth are moving gradually. Made from metal, fixed braces are also strong and durable so they are not likely to break and will not show any sign of discolouration due to any food or drink consumption.

There are also other orthodontic treatments available for our patients who would rather not have fixed metal braces. If you are one of these individuals and are looking for another option, why not consider clear braces in Orpington?

Clear braces

Clear braces and clear aligners are now a popular choice especially for adults as they are less noticeable when compared to the traditional fixed braces. Clear braces are similar to metal braces, however the brackets are clear. They also do an efficient job in straightening crooked or crowded teeth. An example of this type of orthodontic treatment is an appliance called the Damon brace. Damon braces are unobtrusive and discreet in  straightening patients’ teeth, they are stain resistant, so the braces will remain discreet throughout treatment.

If you still have doubts about fixed braces and would prefer to have a treatment which requires more flexibility, Orpington Dental Practice offers clear braces in Orpington known as Invisalign.

How does Invisalign work?

Invisalign braces provide our patients with the option to straighten their teeth without the need to invest in fixed braces. Known to sometimes have a shorter treatment time in comparison to fixed braces, Invisalgn treatment uses clear plastic aligners which are customised for each of our patients by obtaining a 3D scan of their teeth and mouth. Our patients are then required to change these customised aligners, usually every two weeks, in order to move the teeth gradually into their desired position. This is a favourable option for our patients who may want to straighten their teeth, but still want to have the flexibility to remove the aligners for special occasions such as weddings. Another benefit of Invisalign is that you can take out the aligners to eat, which means you can maintain a good oral hygiene regime by cleaning and flossing your teeth regularly. However it is important that patients remember to wear their aligners for at least 20 hours a day to ensure the best results.

So if you are ever considering a treatment such as clear braces in Orpington, our practice will be able to offer you an effective treatment in correcting your teeth and improving your smile.

Porcelain Veneers in Orpington

Unhappy with your smile? Suffering from tooth decay or experiencing crooked teeth and want to do something about it? Based in the peaceful town of Orpington? Why not take a trip down to Orpington Dental and explore the available options we have for you.

Porcelain Veneers in OrpingtonIf you currently have chipped teeth or stains that are irreversible, we have treatments available which can help to restore your smile to what it once was. One option which can correct these tooth deficiencies are porcelain veneers. in Orpington.

These are wafer-thin porcelain shells designed to cover the front surface of your teeth to improve their appearance. A versatile option, these tooth coloured pieces of porcelain can be bonded to a single tooth or a number of teeth. You can even have the bonding over a whole set, which is known as a smile makeover.  The shape of these caps can be adjusted to make your teeth longer or closer together.

Before the procedure, you will have an appointment at our practice in Orpington where we will discuss the best options for your teeth. Typically X-rays will be taken to evaluate the health of your teeth and identify any signs of gum disease or tooth decay. In order for you to have veneers, we will have to be sure that your teeth and gums are healthy enough to have your treatment.

If we give you the go ahead, you will have a follow up appointment with us in which one of our dental professionals will remove some of the enamel of your teeth using a grinding tool. This is nothing to worry about as only about half a millimetre of your tooth is trimmed in order for us to take an impression of your teeth. The impressions are then sent off so that your veneers can be created.

Your next appointment will then be when we receive your porcelain veneers. At this point we will dentist will look at the shape and colouration to ensure they are perfect for you. If this is the case, dental cement will then be used to bind these caps onto your teeth. This typically should not last any longer than two hours.

Benefits of porcelain

Porcelain veneers in Orpington, out of all the materials available for bonding, have the most natural look and its durability means that they can last between ten to twenty years without staining. They are also less likely to break so you do not need to worry too much about them ever chipping although it is advised to eat harder foods with the back teeth as opposed to the front.

How to maintain your new smile

In order to get the best out of your treatment, we advise taking certain precautions which can assist you in making sure you get as much lifespan out of them as possible. For example, if you are someone that clenches or grinds your teeth, it would be beneficial for you to invest in a retainer. If you are an avid sports player it is also advised for you to wear a mouthguard to avoid any injuries. You must also avoid using your teeth to open packages and remember to maintain a good oral hygiene regime. So if you are thinking of porcelain veneers in Orpington contact us today.

What do dental hygienists do? Dental hygiene services in Orpington

In the field of preventative dentistry, there are many professionals that the average patient can identify. General dentists for check-ups, orthodontists for braces, dental nurses for preparation work and a soothing presence when you are in the dental chair if you are nervous.

Dental Hygiene in OrpingtonHowever, few of our customers at Orpington Dental realise that dental hygienists frequently work alongside dentists and other professionals to keep your teeth in their top condition and that hygienists also play an important role in maintaining your overall oral health and dental hygiene in Orpington.

The importance of a dental hygienist

Dental hygiene in Orpington is far more than simple brushing of your teeth.

At our dental office in Orpington, our hygienist and dentist frequently work together to meet the needs of each customer and provide a targeted and personalised approach to improve every patient’s oral health.

Hygienists can also offer advice to individual patients and other dental professionals on care plans relating to braces or implants.

What do dental hygienists do?

Dental hygiene in Orpington acts as both a preventative and cosmetic treatment, so dental hygienists perform oral maintenance tasks such as removal of plaque, allowing the other members of the dental team to focus on tasks such as fillings, crowns etc.

However, there are many other important tasks that they are qualified to perform.

Scaling and polishing- This involves an ultrasound vibration that loosens plaque and areas of tartar. Once these have been loosened, a cooling mist washes away the debris and then your teeth will be polished by air abrasion. This prevents gum disease, tooth decay and leaves you with an improved overall dental appearance.

Topical fluoride application- an interesting preventative method, topical fluoride gels are used in both adults and children to prevent cavities. If your hygienist identifies the start of a cavity in your mouth, an application of a topical gel can seal the area and prevent decay. These can also be used across multiple teeth if an individual is at a higher risk of getting cavities, such as people with diabetes.

Periodontal therapy– we have already mentioned the common type of periodontal therapy in a scale and polish, but there are other techniques that a hygienist can perform to minimise or reverse gum diseases.

If you have lost gum tissue, it is important to ensure that the root of your tooth is protected, and a gum graft is a popular way to achieve this. Your hygienist will remove an area of healthy gum from another area in your mouth and relocate it to where it is needed. When there is loss of gum tissue throughout your mouth, laboratory processed gum tissue will be used instead.

This list highlights just a few of the procedures that our team of dental hygienists at Orpington Dental Surgery can perform. We aim to make sure that when undergoing any treatment, you are comfortable and treated professionally.

Interested in some hygienist treatment? Call us today for a consultation.

What Are The Basics Of Dental Hygiene?

We here at Orpington Dental Care know that taking care of your oral health is an important factor in maintaining good health. Our mouths are often a window to our health as a whole, making it crucial to maintain good hygiene and have regular visits to the dentist.

Dental Hygiene in OrpingtonStudies are increasingly beginning to connect diseases, such as diabetes, to dental disease. Due to this, it’s important that the dental care you partake in at home is to a high standard and becomes a part of your daily routine. We care about dental hygiene in Orpington, so we have compiled  some tips to help you keep your mouth as healthy as possible.

Brush your teeth twice a day

Brushing your teeth is the most basic, and essential, thing you can do to maintain a healthy mouth. Our mouths go through a lot, so it’s vital that we brush our teeth twice a day (in the morning and before bed) to keep our mouths clean and to fight against plaque. When brushing your teeth, be sure to focus on the gum line as this is where plaque tends to accumulate. Using a fluoride toothpaste can also assist in strengthening the surface of the tooth to protect it from decay.

Floss regularly

Flossing is less spoken about than brushing your teeth, and toothbrush adverts will often claim to clean in between your teeth too, but flossing is the best way to combat plaque building up in those hard to reach places. Flossing can help prevent bad breath and gum disease.

Snack to a minimum

You should be aiming to only eat three meals a day with minimal snacking in between. Snacking will  lead to a build up of plaque in your mouth which can lead to tooth decay. Teeth need to have a period of recovery between attacks from the acid in our food.

Quit smoking

Providing dental hygiene in Orpington is one of our missions here at Orpington Dental Care and we are advocates for quitting smoking. By quitting smoking you can maintain your oral health and the health of your entire body. Research has linked smoking to being a cause of gum disease and toxins in tobacco smoke can make tartar more aggressive against our teeth. Quitting smoking can help to prevent serious oral diseases.

Have regular visits to the dentist and hygienist

By visiting your dentist you can have a check-up of your teeth and any teeth in need of fillings can be identified, as well as any risks being monitored. Your hygienist will be able to give your teeth a deeper clean and offer advice on the tools that are best suited to you, ensuring your home care is the best it can be.

Oral hygiene is an important part of everyone’s lives and we will be happy to lend a helping hand whenever you need. If you have any questions, or would like to book an appointment, then please do get in contact with us today.

Give yourself a smile worth noticing

Whatever your smile is like, people are going to notice it. That’s because human beings evolved to clock each other’s smile. When we meet someone for the first time, we check their smile for friendliness. A big open grin means friend. No grin, or a tight-lipped grimace means foe. This hard-wired noticing comes from prehistory and we still use it today. If you don’t have a big open grin, people might not think you are going to attack them and eat them for dinner, but they might think you are cold and unfriendly and they won’t try to get to know you.

Tooth Whitening in OrpingtonWe also check each other’s smiles for health. Strong, white teeth mean good health. Dull, discoloured teeth indicate a chance of ill-health. They say, ‘Don’t come too close. You might catch something.’

Now that you know that, you can understand why tooth whitening is the world’s most popular cosmetic dental treatment. It’s quick, it’s non-invasive and you can even do it yourself at home.

At Orpington Dental Care in Orpington, we offer 2 types of whitening:

In-clinic

Get your whitening done in the clinic and it will only take about an hour. You just lie back in the chair while we protect your lips and gums with a plastic barrier before painting your teeth with a concentrated whitening gel that is activated by a UV light.

This is a great way to lift a smile for an important event.

At-home

For this, we make you a set of gel trays that fit you exactly, taken from impressions. Bespoke trays mean less chance of spillage. We give you a take-home kit. You put the less concentrated gel in the trays and then put them on over your teeth. Wear the trays for a short period every day and it will take a couple of weeks for your teeth to lighten by several shades.

Keep it up

Tooth whitening is not permanent. You can extend the life of your white teeth by avoiding the drinks and foods that stain, such as tea, coffee and red wine.

If you have gel trays, you can also buy more gel and give yourself a top-up treatment every few months.

Questions that people will not ask you

The idea of being constantly asked about their braces can put a lot of people off getting treatment. No one wants to have to deal with a barrage of stares and invasive questions on a daily basis. But surely there is a way to get teeth straightened that doesn’t mean having to also deal with other people’s curiosity?

Invisalign in OrpingtonWell there is at Orpington Dental in Orpington, where we fit Invisalign invisible braces for mild to moderate alignment issues.

In fact, to call Invisalign braces doesn’t really do them justice. They don’t have brackets and wires and they are not cemented onto your teeth. Instead, Invisalign clear aligners look more like very thin mouth guards. You put them on over your teeth and because the transparent plastic is only 0.3mm thick, they can’t be seen once they are in place.

Invisalign does its straightening by way of carefully placed pressure points inside each aligner. When you come for treatment with us at Orpington Dental, you will receive a series of aligners. You wear one after the other. Each aligner takes 7-10 days to move your teeth by pressing on them. Once the pressure wears off, you ditch that aligner and move onto the next in the series.

Because Invisalign clear aligners are removable, meal times are as easy as ever. You can eat whatever you like. All you have to do is remember to clean your teeth thoroughly before you put your aligners back in. If you don’t, the pigments in the food may discolour the plastic, rendering your aligner visible.

Using Invisalign obviously takes a bit of discipline. Teeth move with sustained pressure. If the pressure is not sustained, the process of dissolving and rebuilding the bone around the tooth stops and it takes about 72 hours to get it going again. So, you must wear your Invisalign aligners for at least 20 hours a day if you are going to stick to your treatment schedule. On average, it takes about a year for this treatment.

We’d love to tell you more. Why not come in for a free consultation?

Your teeth? Who can tell?

When you look at some people with dentures, you can tell those aren’t their real teeth. Sometimes the tops of the dentures are not in line with the rest of the teeth. Sometimes, the denture clicks, or you see the person moving their teeth around. Sometimes they are too perfect and white and even to be real teeth in a person that age.

Dental Implants in OrpingtonNow you need to replace some teeth. How are you going to do it? Are you going to go down the denture route? Or maybe you are thinking about fixed bridgework? Or perhaps you are more inclined toward dental implants.

All 3 methods of replacing teeth have their pros and cons, but, when it comes to looking after the rest of your teeth and the health of your jaws and gums, at Orpington Dental Care in Orpington, we think that dental implants tick more boxes.

About your jaw

One of the things that ages people is a shrunken jawbone. The bone loses size and density, and, eventually the chin seems to be closer to the tip of the nose. This is what people draw when they want to do cartoons of witches: the big nose, the pointy chin. It’s not actually old age that causes that look, it’s lack of teeth.

Without your teeth, your jawbone starts to dissolve itself, thinking it is no longer needed because there are no vibrations coming down through the roots to tell it otherwise.

Dental implants are the only way to replace lost tooth roots and prevent this from happening.

The rest of your teeth

It’s not a good idea to live with gaps for too long as the surrounding teeth can start to tip into the gap and eventually fall out. However, if you replace the lost teeth with fixed bridgework, it will require the loss of 2 more teeth, one on either side of the gap. These have to be ground down into pegs onto which buttress crowns for the bridge are fitted. With dental implants, the crowns are anchored into the jaw on their own posts, so there’s no need to sacrifice healthy teeth.

To find out more, why not come in for a consultation?

Fillings? What fillings?

If you had a fair few fillings when you were a kid, and let’s face it, not many of us didn’t, then you can feel like your amalgam fillings never quite let you forget about all those sugary snacks and drinks you had, and all that toothbrushing you skipped.

General Dentistry in OrpingtonLugging around your amalgam fillings is like lugging around the evidence of a misspent youth that everyone gets to see every time you open your mouth to have a good yawn or a big loud laugh.

Thankfully, when it comes to advances in general dentistry, one of the most important, as far as patients are concerned, is the advent of white fillings. White fillings have been around for a quite a while now. When they first became available, the materials weren’t all that strong and it wasn’t uncommon for people to have to get them replaced every few years, especially if they ground their teeth at night.

Now, however, the white fillings we offer at Orpington Dental Practice in Orpington are much stronger and therefore last a lot longer.

White fillings are made of composite resin, which is a mixture of glass and plastic. They go in differently from amalgam fillings. We put the composite resin in in layers and after each layer, we use a UV light to harden, or cure, it. It can take several layers of composite resin to fill a cavity, and when we have, the filling will come level with the top of the tooth. What we do then is use tools to sculpt and shape the composite resin as we recreate the chewing surfaces of your teeth. Between each shaping attempt, we get you to bite down on a piece of blue marker paper so we can see where we need to remove a bit more resin.

Getting white fillings takes longer than getting amalgam fillings, but the end result is something that looks just like your tooth. Now when you laugh or yawn, no one will be able to look into your mouth and see that you were ever anything but a saint with the toothbrush and the sweets.

Get rid of your winter stains

The trouble with winter in the UK is that it seems to go forever. Short, dull days interspersed with long, dark nights. We eat heavier comfort foods in an effort to feel snug and it’s no wonder that along with all those stews and heavy puds, our consumption of comforting hot drinks, such as tea and coffee, and hearty red wines can go through the roof.

Teeth Whitening in OrpingtonCome the spring, you can be forgiven if your teeth are showing the stains of all those mulled spicy drinks, those hot berry-apple crumbles, those heavy tomato-based stews. All these things leave tiny traces of themselves as surface stains on your tooth enamel.

Your teeth look duller and your smile looks older. You may not even want to smile so much. But don’t shy away from a good smile, just get the stains removed with safe teeth whitening treatments from us at Orpington Dental Care in Orpington.

We have 2 ways that you can whiten your teeth. You can either come in and we can carry out the treatment for you, or you can do it yourself at home. Both methods have different advantages, and with both you can choose how white you want your teeth to be.

In-clinic whitening

The advantage of in-clinic whitening is that it’s done in around about an hour. You can pop in during your lunch hour, or get it done after work. You relax while we protect your soft mouth parts (lips and gums) with a plastic barrier and paint your teeth with whitening gel. In around an hour, your teeth will be several shades lighter and you can get on with your day. That’s all there is to it. This is a great treatment if you need to look your best for an important event that is happening very shortly.

At-home whitening

For this, you get a pack containing a weaker concentrate of gel, along with 2 gel trays that have been made from impressions of your teeth so that they fit you exactly. It takes about 2 weeks of wearing the trays each day to reach the shade you want. And you can buy more gel every time you need a top-up treatment.