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Don’t Fear the Dentists Scorn: Practical Help


Dental phobia takes many forms.  Some people are afraid of particular procedures, including injections or the drill, and others are terrified simply by being in the dentist’s surgery.  Their anxieties may have prevented them from receiving treatment for many years. Others may have been unable to afford treatment at some time in their lives and have let their teeth get into a poor state of repair until they are too embarrassed to visit the dentist and get the help they really need.  The Dental Suite is a friendly and experienced dental practice who welcome everyone.  They do not judge the condition of your teeth or remonstrate with you for not seeing the dentist but help you overcome your phobias in a relaxing atmosphere before beginning treatment.

As Kiren, one of the dentist’s at the Dental Suite, says, “A common reason patients don’t attend is because they worry about being ‘told off’ or humiliated by the dentist.” Patients who haven’t visited a dentist for a long time are often aware there are issues with their oral health. These issues may be gum inflammation, loose teeth, cavities, and bad breath and this may make you feel conscious of being around friends and family.

You may imagine it will be far more embarrassing when you are around someone in the dental profession. Fear not.  Whereas we understand your concern, your dentist is the one person who you visit to relax and overcome the problem.

Not only do we see many people in your situation every day but we have the skill and technology to help you overcome the tension you feel and treat your teeth painlessly to restore you to good health.  Some of our patients had not visited a dentist for up to twenty years before they came to see us and all found the experience calm and reassuring.

At your first appointment, we will welcome you and make you feel comfortable before we take a history of your concerns and phobias.  We will examine your teeth, your gums and your smile.  We may need to take X-rays to gain more information about your dental condition.  We use high-quality digital photography to take very high-resolution images so we can see and discuss any issues with you before deciding on the best treatment. Many patients find this encouraging when we refer to these images after restoring their smile.

Whatever the reason you haven’t been to the dentist, rest assured we will not be criticizing or belittling you.  We look forward to helping you overcome your fears and giving you a confident, healthy smile.

To make an appointment, please contact The Dental Suite for your free consultation.

Top tips for hyperemesis gravidarum (extreme morning sickness)

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Earlier this month Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge was forced to cancel her trips overseas due to suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum (HG). Although many people think it’s just a form of morning sickness this couldn’t be further from the truth, it is a much more severe and debilitating condition. People suffering from this condition experience severe and prolonged vomiting as often as 50 times a day! This can lead to dehydration, ketosis, weight loss and low blood pressure.

The impact on your overall health and oral health is serious, and you must seek medical attention straight away if you think you are experiencing hyperemesis gravidarum.

Below is some information and advice on the dangers of hyperemesis gravidarum to your oral health.

The backs of your teeth, where you don’t look are at risk – when you vomit the acid from the stomach comes into contact with the enamel of your teeth and cause erosion especially on the backs of teeth that most people won’t look at or notice.

Don’t Brush after vomiting

Due to the unpleasant taste and smell from being sick, it is natural to want to brush your teeth to freshen your mouth. Brushing teeth immediately after vomiting can cause softening of the protective enamel surfaces of the teeth because the acid from the stomach weakens the tooth structure. The best thing to do is rinse your mouth with an alcohol-free fluoride mouthwash and wait at least an hour before brushing. Duraphat 2800 or 5000 toothpaste can be prescribed by your dentist – this contains more fluoride to reduce the risk of decay if you are at risk – remember to spit only and not rinse

Beware of dehydration and gum inflammation

Dehydration from the vomiting can cause a dry mouth which can lead to gum inflammation and also increased the risk of decay to the teeth. Drink as much water as possible to keep well hydrated; mint water is great as the mint flavour is very kind to the stomach as is ginger – I know this helps me. If you cannot keep down more than 500ml of water a day, seek immediate medical advice.

Your teeth may turn yellow

The tooth erosion caused by the acid can cause the teeth to look more yellow due to loss of enamel, showing more dentine which is yellow.

Your teeth may become sensitive

Erosion can also make teeth more sensitive to cold, hot fluids and even touch, be sure to brush with toothpaste for sensitive teeth.

Brushing can trigger vomiting so follow my top tips to avoid this:

  • Start on the back teeth so the taste buds which may trigger vomiting are not set off straight away
  • Use a small electric toothbrush head
  • The gag reflex is more heightened in the morning – use a fluoride mouthwash in the morning and brush later in the day
  • Wiggling your toes and tiptoeing while brushing (but go steady) may also help control the gagging as it allows your mind to concentrate on something else.
  • Acupressure may also help but check with your doctor that this is safe for you to do so.
  • Good breathing technique will also help – nice deep breaths through the nose.

There are treatments for erosion

If enamel has been lost, don’t worry we can build this up using a white filling material without any drilling of discomfort but obviously, prevention is key.

Scared of the Dentist? Our Advice

Patients who are scared of the dentist tend to avoid going to a dentist until they are in excruciating pain. The problem is that the more they postpone their visit the more likely they are to require more treatment. Visiting the dentistr regularly means that the treatments are shorter and problems can be prevented before they start.

Our advice to nervous patients is to try to overcome your fear. First, build up a rapport with a dental practice by calling their reception to have a chat or pop in to meet the team. Once you are familiar with the environment, it becomes much easier to book in with a dentist.

Look for recommendations. Look at a practice’s reviews and patient testimonials and see what other people are saying about them; this will increase your confidence in the dentist you have chosen.

If you are scared of injections, look for dentists who use the Wand to administer local anaesthesia as it is a gentler way to numb up teeth, no needles required.

You can also consider seeing a hypnotherapist prior to dental treatment to help you cope better. This has proven successful to patients.

If you find you would rather have treatment without being aware of it, then consider seeing a dentist who provides conscious sedation. This puts patients into a relaxed dreamlike state during treatment and most patients comment that they either did not feel or remember anything during their treatment

We have found that a combination of all of the above, helps patients overcome their fears of the dentist and allows them to make the first step to start treatment and become regular dental attenders.

Smoking and Your Oral Health

Smoking is a major health issue in our country. Approximately 70,000 people die each year due to smoking related problems.

Smoking affects every part of the human body as we are all aware. Looking at smoking from an oral health point of view, the habit causes several serious problems.

Smoking causes the following:

  • gum problems leading to tooth loss,
  • severe tooth staining,
  • bad breath,
  • higher risk of mouth cancer,
  • poor healing of dental treatments, such as gum treatment, extractions, implant surgeries.

A smoker is four times more likely to stop if they have help and your dentist and dental team can help. We can help by directing you in the right way by finding a support organisation, we can help you find a hypnotherapist whose special field of interest is smoking cessation, we can help you with your oral health care and with motivating you to stop smoking.

Please don’t forget that if you are a smoker, you will not be able to have dental implant surgery as your gums will not heal well and your implants would fail. Also be aware that if you are a smoker, you are more likely to have more pain after the removal of a tooth as the healing is impaired by the smoking.

We know that there is a marked overall health improvement when a smoker stops this habit, we know we can provide dental treatment successfully as well.


How often should you visit the dentist?

Regular dental visits are very important, not just to check the health of your teeth, but also that of your gums and your mouth in general.

During a dental check up your dentist asks about your concerns and then carries out a detailed examination. We always check for early signs of oral cancer, tooth decay and gum disease so that we can catch and treat any problems at the right stage. We always take a medical history and gain further details about your main dental issues, your social history, how much you smoke, drink, your lifestyle and your diet. All of these are important factors for assessment of your oral health and gum disease and cancer risks.

Your dentists will then carry out a clinical examination starting with checking your temporomandibular joint (TMJ, what connects your lower jaw to the rest of your head),  looking out for clicks, pain and any sign of arthritis. This is a common source of headaches and joint pain issues that we see a lot of. Other checks include:

  • The lips both on the outside and inside are examined for any signs of  ulcers and lumps and bumps.
  • The tongue is checked thoroughly to ensure it is a healthy pink colour and that there are no signs of red or white patches or asymmetry. These may signify disease or infection.
  • The roof of the mouth and inner cheek tissues are next examined to ensure they are healthy and there are no colour changes or signs of unexpected ulcers or growths.
  • We check each individual tooth, for cavities, abscesses and also tooth wear.
  • The gums are next examined for any signs of gum disease using a probe.

All results of this examination are accurately charted on your dental record and each time we compare the results of your examination with the previous one. In particular we record your caries risk, gum disease risk and oral cancer risk.

I agree with the American Dental Association and many other associations who believe that frequency of dental examination should be tailored to the patients oral health status and needs.

A high risk patient may require more frequent visits like six monthly check ups and three monthly hygienists, someone low risk may need yearly visits and two hygienist visits every six months. Everyone is different so each patient’s dentist is best placed to set the frequency of visits.


Gum Disease: What you need to know

Gum affects millions of people and leads to tooth loss in untreated. Gum disease is a ‘silent’ disease, people may not be aware they have it until the damage to the teeth and bone is too severe and irreversible. This is why regular dental check ups and regular hygienist visits are recommended by your dental health care professional.

What is Gum Disease?

A tooth consists of two parts: the crown, which is what is visible in our mouths and the root, which is into the jawbone covered by the gums.

When you see a dentist or a hygienist, they will use an instrument called a probe to check your gums, in order to see if you have any tartar build up and if your gums are swollen and becoming detached from the bone.

There are 2 types of gum disease: gingivitis and periodontitis.

  • Gingivitis is a reversible form of gum disease which presents with gum swelling and bleeding but the gums are still attached to the bone and the bone has not shrunk. Once gingivitis is treated and well maintained at home, the mouth can reverse back to health with no permanent damage to the gums or bone
  • Periodontitis is an irreversible form of gum disease. This means that there is permanent damage to the gums and bone. The gums may shrink and the bone may be eaten away. There are various degrees of bone loss. Mild-Moderate periodontal disease can successfully be treated in most cases, more severe cases unfortunately will lead to tooth loss.

What causes Gum Disease?

Tartar (Plaque) build up is the main cause of gum disease. This is a thin film made of bacteria and their deposits which irritate the gums. This build up, if not removed, can harden making it impossible to remove with a toothbrush. If plaque is left to grow overtime, it can build up under the gums then causing more damage to the gums and initiating periodontal disease. The gums start detaching from the bone and the bone starts shrinking in response to the irritation cause by the build up.

Gum Treatment

This is why we recommend regular hygiene visits so that this hardened build up can be removed by your hygienist with her special instruments. If the build up is only superficial then you would require a scale and polish. If the plaque is further down into the gum and you have periodontal disease you would require a series of appointments which require deeper cleaning and removal of the build up. These visit will require you to be gently numbed up so that you cannot feel anything while our hygienist removes the build up from the roots of your teeth.

Looking after your gums at home

Our dental team will provide their best treatment to improve the chances of healing but home maintenance is just as important to ensure further issues are prevented or acute disease is stopped.

So these are our tips for best home care:

  • Brush your teeth 2/3 times daily for at least 2 minutes.
  • Clean between your teeth daily with floss between the tighter teeth and with interproximal tooth brushes where there is more space between the teeth.
  • Use mouthwash daily.
  • Have a good balanced diet.
  • Be aware that certain health conditions can make you more vulnerable to gum issues and therefore you need to be even more careful with your oral care. These are some of the conditions to be aware diabetes, certain medications, manual dexterity issues which make it harder to brush your teeth, pregnancy.

Gum Disease and effects on overall health

There is increased evidence that gum disease can have an effect on one’s overall health

These are some of the recent findings:

  • A link between gum disease and increased risk of heart problems
  • A link between gum disease and low birth weight and premature deliveries
  • Possible links between gum disease and Alzheimer’s disease

Gum disease and Smoking

Gum disease and gum treatment are affected by smoking. Smoking has an additive effects on gum disease, making it worse. Also if you have gum treatment, you are less likely to respond to treatment due to smoking as it impairs the healing process.

Children’s Dental Health and Sugar

Pre-schoolers’ dental health has been all over the news in the past year. We are all aware of the effects on sugar. High profile public figures have been raising more awareness on these effects. Well known health issues connected with sugar are decayed teeth, increased likelihood of diabetes, obesity and hyperactivity.

Recent studies have shown that 5 year olds in Leicester have one of the highest rate of rotten teeth in the country. In my career, as well as seeing pre-schoolers with one or more decayed teeth, I have also seen 3-5 year olds requiring all their teeth removed under general anaesthetic, which has been quite an upsetting experience.


The best way to prevent rotten teeth is by

1 – Brushing regularly

  • Teeth must be brushed twice daily for 2 minutes with a fluoride toothpaste correct for your child’s age and it should be under parents’ supervision
  • Do not rinse out the mouth with water after brushing – spit out any excess instead so that the toothpaste and its helpful qualities can stay in the mouth for quite a bit longer than the brushing time.

2 – Maintaining a healthy diet with minimal or no sugary foods or drinks

  • Eat a diet with fruits and vegetables (but be aware that some fruits are acidic so keep an eye on frequency)
  • Try to keep consumption of sugary drinks and snacks as low as possible, and if they are consumed, try to have them with a meal rather than in-between.
  • Avoid fruit juices, as they can damage teeth.
  • If offering sweet drinks or foods, please keep to a minimum and do not have them as a daily occurrence.

3 –  Regular visits to the dentist


The recommended daily amount of sugar for a pre-schooler is approximately 19g approximately (5 sugar cubes) and for children aged 7 to 10 years old the amount is 24g (6 sugar cubes).  There are so many hidden sugars in our daily foods and drinks making it very easy to exceed their RDA. We mustn’t forget that juices especially orange and apple are highly acidic as they have a pH of about 3  and this will contribute to tooth wear and erosion of the enamel of their teeth.  All these factors added to daily exposure to juices will significantly increase the likelihood of the children developing decay. It is also well established that ready availability of juice to 3-5 year old children will lead to them growing a preference for such drinks over milk or water, setting them for life to favour sugary drinks and consume them more frequently. Our advise is look at the sugar content of cereals, cereal bars, biscuits, cakes and juices so that sugar consumption can be limited and avoid exposure to juice at an early age.

Did you Know that One in 5 people Fear the Dentist?

It is believed that at least one in five people living in the UK is afraid to visit the dentist, due to some form of dental phobia. That fear and nervousness, caused even by the thought of stepping into a dental practice, can mean lots of different things to different people. The truth is that dental phobias, just like any other phobia that you may have, do not have a single cause. It seems to be a combination of multiple factors that lead a person to feeling anxiety about going to the dentist. We see so many nervous patients at our practice and one of the first things that they tell us is that a calming environment and our friendly, informal approach helps to ease the nerves. However some patients that we see are so terrified that it takes a couple of appointments just to come to terms with talking about their dental problems. There are a wide range of reasons why people have an inbuilt fear of visiting the dentist, it could be something as simple as the sound of the drill, a previous experience or the clinical smell and environment of a dental practice.

The key to overcoming a phobia or fear of visiting the dentist is to take the first step and speak to somebody about it. It may be comforting to know that no matter how nervous that you are we will have seen and treated someone more nervous than you. Some of our patients are so scared of visiting the dentist that they are in tears when they make the first phone call and speak to us about their concerns. It may take a few phone calls before you come in and make your first appointment but it is a journey that we take with our patients every day.

Dental Phobias and Past Trauma

According to experts, a phobia could be caused by a particular trauma or past incident, or it can also be a response developed by the individual at a very early age and was created by a sibling or a parent. Finally, genetics also plays a vital role in developing phobias. Evidence has shown that some people are just born with a tendency to be more nervous and afraid of particular things than others.

Has any of these occurred to you? Could it be that some specific smells bring back memories of a bad experience you once had (in your childhood, perhaps)? Does the sound of the equipment we dentists, use trigger a nasty response? Relax. You are not the only one, and you are definitely not experiencing something that should stress you. There are many people just like you that think having a treatment will be painful and have associated smells and sounds with unpleasant memories from their past. For all of you, we have some great news!

Dental Phobias & Dental Advances

One of the greatest news is that dentistry has advanced so much recently that seeing a dentist is no longer a reason to be neither afraid nor nervous about. Why?

For two major reasons:

  1. The overall experience is much more bearable and gentler nowadays with the modern dental surgeries that take place in relaxing and far friendlier environments than several years ago. You get to visit practices with appealing waiting rooms decorated with beautiful art while you listen to soothing music as you wait. You also step into dental surgeries with much less noticeable instruments. Remember those noisy drills? Guess what! They are no longer so irritating!
  2. You can ask for Sedation Dentistry (a procedure where we give you medication to put you into a relaxed dreamlike state) and feel at ease as the dentist is working on your smile, with lovely background music playing. IV-sedation is completely painless, and the same applies to the WAND, which is a computerised injection system that looks much like a pen and delivers the anaesthetic in small doses at a time. It is ideal for anyone with a needle phobia! Alternatively, a numbing gel can be used to numb your gums before an injection, so you don’t feel the needle at all!

All that, and much more, is what you can find at The Dental Suite! We are not only trained to deal with patients’ fears (Dental-Phobia Certified), but also do a great deal to make dental treatments a more pleasant experience for you. In a dreamy environment, little will remind you of the dentist’s surgery you had in mind! Ask us how we can help you overcome your dental phobias. It is time you are well looked after. Don’t you agree?

Amy’s Teeth Straightening Journey

Our nurse Amy has just had metal six-month braces fitted to both her upper and lower teeth. The metal braces were chosen over ceramic braces as they are more cost-effective and perfect for those who are considering braces treatment on a budget but still want perfect results.

The reason that Amy decided to opt for braces treatment was that she had experienced something called post-orthodontic adult relapse. Amy had worn braces to straighten her teeth when she was younger, however because she didn’t wear her retainers every day her teeth started to move back to their original position.

The majority of adult patients that we treat have previously had braces treatment and come to see us because their teeth have started to move again (relapse). More often than not the relapse has occurred because retainers were not worn following their treatment every day. There are two types of retainers: a fixed retainer which is a thin wire that is fitted to the back of your teeth, and a removable retainer which looks like a clear gum shield that fits tightly over your newly straightened teeth.

If you are considering teeth straightening treatment of any sort, be sure to ask your dentist if they will be fitting you with both fixed and removable retainers following treatment.

Relapse is something that we see a lot in our clinic for many reasons:

  • The importance of retention may not have been explained at the time of removing the braces.
  • You may have thought that once you have worn your retainers for a short period of time you wouldn’t need them any more.
  • The relapse movement of teeth is very slow so initially you won’t notice it and then gradually the teeth will move until they are crooked again.
  • Once teeth have moved just a small amount your retainers will no longer fit.

Some clinics only provide removable retainers, which means if you forget to wear them your teeth will start to move. At our practice, we fit both fixed and removable retainers and emphasise the importance of wearing your retainers for the rest of your life if you want to keep your teeth straight. The removable retainers are only to be worn at night time.



You will also notice from Amy’s video that she has had some “bite blocks” fitted in order to stop her teeth meeting in the middle and knocking her braces as she chews food. A bite block is simply a small amount of filling material that is placed on your back teeth to stop them meeting together and hold your mouth open a few millimetres. By holding your teeth apart the blocks also help your teeth move easier.

If you are considering having fixed braces fitted be sure to ask your dentist what they will do to prevent your teeth from knocking your braces. Placing bite blocks is a very simple procedure but it is not done by all dentists.

Amy didn’t experience any pain or discomfort from having the braces fitted. The most difficult part for her so far seems to have been adjusting to her new bite, which can seem a bit strange at the beginning but she will quickly get used to this.

My braces are finally off

I’ve just had my braces removed and I am delighted with the results. In this video blog I will give you a few tips and tricks of how to look after your teeth once your braces have been taken off. There are certain things that you need to do differently once you have had braces including the way you clean your teeth and look after them.

Once my braces were removed and Anna was happy with the final position of the teeth, she took a mould of my teeth and use this to make a custom fixed retainer. I fixed retainer is simply a thin wire that is custom shaped to my teeth and fitted behind my front teeth to hold them in place following orthodontic treatment. it’s very important to have a retainer following any teeth straightening treatment as teeth have a natural tendency to move back into their previous position. At our practice I make sure that every patient is monitored for a minimum of 12 months following fitting of the retainer. this is to make sure the teeth don’t start to move after treatment, since the majority of adult patients that we see for braces treatment come to us because their teeth have started moving following previous treatments, because they were not fitted with a fixed retainer or given any advice on retention.

After having the fixed retainer fitted took a short period of time to adjust to it but after a few days I didn’t notice any different. after having the fix retainers fitted another mould was taken of my teeth to make a custom removable retainer which looks like a thin plastic gum-shield this fits snugly over my teeth and I wear it at night to provide additional support to prevent my teeth moving.

Your dentist will usually give you advice on how to put your retainers in your mouth. I usually advise to press it in with your thumbs and don’t bite down on your retainers as this could crack or damage them. you may have a slight lisp the first time you wear your removable retainers but after a few days you will get used to it.

When you have a fixed retainer placed is virtually impossible to floss your teeth as there is a wire in the way so it is very important that you see our hygienist regularly to get your teeth cleaned following any orthodontic treatment. The best way to clean between your teeth when you have a fixed retainer in place is to use interdental brushes or interdental sticks, your hygienist will demonstrate how to use these in order to maintain a good oral hygiene routine.

In the future I may consider having my teeth whitened as do many patients following orthodontic treatment.