Dental Myth Busting

There are numerous pieces of advice and old wives tales that are told when it comes to how best look after yourself. We all know small changes can make a big difference. So when I explain to my patients commonly misunderstood pieces of general oral health advice they do seem rather surprised. There are either those that have been given the correct information from childhood and wonder why I’m giving them such simples pieces of advice and the others that are shocked as they are then aware they’ve been doing thing ‘confidently wrong’ for years! Now’s the time to break those habits and start a new regieme with all this spare time on your hands!

As a profession we are moving much more towards prevention and education generally with minimal intervention where at all possible. We are empowering our patients to make the right choices and take control of their own well-being.
Here are a few pieces of advice I routinely give to my patients at each check-up and which (hopefully after a few times of hearing me drone on about them!!) they begin to take heed and act upon.

  1. Brushing before or after breakfast??…Similar to Chicken and the Egg – Well there are no straight answers to this. If you’re anything like me, time is of the essence in the mornings so the short answer would be before. This is because it takes around 30-45 minutes for your saliva to naturally neutralise the plaque acids that are developed when we eat or drink most things. So to avoid risking wearing your teeth when brushing (Abrasion), if you can spare this time then great, otherwise stick to before.

  2. Rinse or spit?? … You should not rinse your mouth after brushing!! This negates one of the most important reasons for brushing your teeth. Toothpaste for adults/6yr plus containing ideally 1350-1550ppm Fluoride (can be checked in the ingredients on tube – most high street branded pastes) supersaturates your mouth with the protective Fluoride ions which gives the desired topical effect.

  3. Mouthwash really worth it??…Yes it is! However it is best used at a time other than brushing to avoid the dilution effect described above with rinsing. I usually suggest after lunch or school/work to give you a top-up at a time other than brushing. Some controversy over alcohol containing washes mainly for religious reasons and those at higher risk of oral cancer. There are plenty of non-alcohol containing ones these days for those where this could be a concern.

  4. It’s not the amount, it’s the frequency!…The analogy I use is if you were going to eat a bag of sugar, it would be better to have it all in one go as opposed to little bits throughout the day (I’m not advocating this by the way!!) Hence the emphasis on well balanced meals and restricting any food and drink to mealtimes. I know it’s tempting especially at the moment but put a sign on the fridge/cupboard to remind you not to! Also The use of sugar free chewing gum/mints after eating/drinking will help stimulate the previously mentioned natural protective saliva that has this buffering capacity.

  5. Night time…. Brushing and ideally flossing should be the last thing before sleeping hence the most important piece of advice I give. The worst time to eat or drink anything would be after this in the evening. At night your saliva flow is dramatically reduced and food debri and plaque acids linger for longer.

As with all health advice it is best when tailored to your individual circumstances. This is what we aim to provide for our patients of all ages in our clinic. We bespoke our advice and plans to each individuals needs. This is why you should visit your Dentist and Hygienist on a regular basis even when you have no obvious problems as prevention is always better than cure!!

We hope to see you again soon when it is safe to do so. Please do not hesitate to email/voicemail us in the meantime where either myself or Sami will be more than happy to help wherever we can!

Stay safe and take care.

Dr Bhavin Patel BDS(Hons) MJDF RCS (Eng)

Partner Dentistry@53
T: 02079356809 / 02079350476

Crowns and Onlays (sometimes referred to as caps) are artificial coverings that are used to improve the appearance, restore the shape, size and function of teeth that are heavily broken down and filled.

A Dental Crown is used for many reasons, some of which are:
• To protect weak teeth from breaking or to hold together parts of fractured teeth.
• To restore broken or severely worn teeth.
• To encase and support teeth with large fillings where not enough of the natural tooth remains.
• To support and hold a Dental Bridge securely.
• To improve the appearance of misshapen or heavily discoloured teeth.
• To cover Dental Implants
• To make cosmetic modifications for aesthetic improvement.


How long does crown treatment take?

Crowns usually take two visits. The first visit is usually the longer; to prepare the tooth and take the necessary records for the crown to be made from. The tooth is smoothed down to a smaller version of itself to allow the laboratory enough space to construct the customised restoration. Impressions are taken and sent to the laboratory. A temporary crown is usually made to protect and restore the tooth in between the appointments and temporarily bonded on


What are the risks?

Whilst a crown is a strong long term restoration it is important to be aware that not all crowns can be provided without potential complications. The underlying tooth is normally already heavily broken down and compromised so there a chance that it can still become carious and break. Also if the tooth does cause any problems afterwards it may require root canal therapy and then potentially a new crown with a post or it may need to be removed all together.


What is a Dental Crown made from?

The 3 major types of dental crowns are:


  • Porcelain Fused to Metal crown (PFM)

This is a crown that utilises the latest porcelain technology to bond to a high fusing precious metal substructure. This crown is constructed by a skilled team of technicians to ensure a high quality crown is produced. It is strong due to the metal substructure and the colour of the porcelain over the top is matched with your existing tooth colour as close as possible.


  • Gold Crown

On back teeth where appearance is not so critical a gold crown is usually the academic material of choice. The amount of tooth preparation and drilling for this type of crown is very minimal in comparison with the others and is the most tooth friendly restoration. A high content gold alloy is used which is the most hard wearing and long lasting of all crown types.


  • Ceramic Crown

Pressable ceramics are used to produce a highly aesthetic and life-like appearance for your crown. There are different types of ceramics that your dentist can discuss with you that would best your individual circumstances. This can be a happy medium between the above two. Tooth can be prepared removing only where necessary and keeping the margins above the gumline, where at all possible like the gold, to reduce the amount of overall preparation. There are no metal or alloys in this crown and its lifelike nature and strength make it ideally suited for any tooth in the mouth including back teeth. The colour of this crown is matched as closely as possible with your existing tooth colour.
Your Dental Team will discuss with you what the best option is based on your teeth and individual requirements.


How to look after your crowns

Crowned teeth do not need any special care, but will still require a regular, Dental cleaning routine at home and routine visits to your Dentist and hygienist.

Therefore, continue following good Oral Hygiene practices – brushing your teeth twice a day, one of which should be last thing at night and flossing once a day – especially around the crown area where the gum meets the tooth.

Call us today on 02079356809 to arrange a consultation where we can discuss any other concerns further.

Dr Bhavin Patel BDS(Hons) MJDF RCS (Eng)

Partner Dentistry@53
T: 02079356809 / 02079350476

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