Dentistry advice from Hampshire's leading dentists
Achieve the perfect smile with advice from the counties leading dentists...
When it comes to visiting the dentist, the sound of the dreaded drill, and the prospect of needles and pain is enough to send many of us running in the opposite direction. However, the alternative means living with cavities, gum disease, misshapen teeth and even the prospect of losing our smiles altogether.
This month we speak to three of Hampshire’s most qualified dental experts, to see how dental care has changed over the years, discuss the latest treatments and find out how everyone can get the beautiful smiles they want, with less pain, fear and embarrassment.
Specialist implantologist, Dr Johann Ackerman, works from his fresh and welcoming clinic in New Milton, and with his help, you could throw away your dentures for good, or fill unsightly gaps from lost teeth. Losing your teeth doesn’t necessarily resign you to a lifetime of soaking your false teeth in a cup next to your bed and worrying about what you eat.
Dental implants are Titanium posts which are implanted into your jawbone to function as a root. The specifically activated surfaces help your bone grow onto the implants during a process of bone fusion. Then, after three to four months, the implants will form a permanent part of your body, and in ideal circumstances, you can be given temporary teeth in the meantime.
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From one solitary tooth, to a full arch, implants can provide you with a new reason to smile. Dr Ackerman comments that, “dental implant treatment has revolutionized the treatment for replacing missing teeth; it has become a specialty on its own within dentistry.”
In general most people are suitable candidates for implants, providing they enjoy good general health. Smokers and sufferers of diseases such as leukemia and uncontrolled diabetes may have a much higher failure rate, due to the effects of bone growth, all of which would be discussed in a full examination and consultation.
Comfort is of paramount importance to Dr Ackerman and his team, and reassures that implants are generally placed under local anaesthesia, with sedation if you feel it would help you to relax. He assures, “Most patients have very little discomfort post-operatively, except in more severe cases of bone loss where bone grafting becomes necessary. Medications aid the healing process and the patient is carefully followed up in the weeks and months to come”.
Dr Ackerman warns, “Patients who have implants placed commit themselves to a lifetime of strictly controlled oral hygiene practices”, he adds, “this is to ensure that the gum tissues surrounding the implants remain healthy and there is minimal or no plaque accumulation on any of the surfaces of the implant. This requires a well motivated patient who understands and accepts the responsibility in terms of the long-term success of their implants”.
To conclude, he adds, “dental implants restore aesthetics and function. It will put the smile back on a patients face and enable them to enjoy the simple pleasures of unrestricted eating”, a final thought for denture wearers, who have long dreamed of tucking into a delicious meal, without forethought or worry.
Having healthy teeth and gums is just one factor affecting how happy you are with your smile. Having an even, straight smile and a perfect ‘bite’ can improve confidence hugely. Dr Stewart Hawthorn is highly experienced in the field of Orthodontics, “a branch of dentistry concerned with straightening misaligned teeth and jaws”, and works from his practice in Winchester.
The days of suffering the embarrassment of the traditional ‘train track’ braces are long gone. Dr Hawthorn says, “These days there are many different types of braces, from the more traditional metal braces to the more aesthetic removable aligners. The key factor is that contemporary treatment is very much more centred on the individual’s requirements rather than being one type for all”.
He goes on to say, “The introduction of tooth coloured fixed braces and the Invisalign aligner has made braces almost invisible. I have been using Invisalign since it was first introduced to the UK and I treat the majority of my patients with this method. But if you want braces that no-one can see they can be fitted to the inside of your teeth. These are called lingual braces, as worn by Kate Middleton.”
Almost anyone can have orthodontic treatment, providing the teeth and gums are healthy, and for those unsure of whether to proceed with the treatment, advanced computer technology can show you how your teeth will change over the course. It could take around 15 months or longer to get the smile you want, but Dr Hawthorn uses state of the art technology, such as Acceledent, to ensure that treatment times are not any longer than necessary. He explains; “Acceledent is a device which orthodontists can use to help teeth move more quickly.
A custom fitted vibratory device send gentle impulses to the teeth and gums allowing the teeth to move more quickly than otherwise would be the case. It is used for twenty minutes per day and can cut treatment times by up to one third. I was one of the first orthodontists in the UK to use this in my practice and I have been amazed at the reduction in treatment times for those patients who have complex and lengthy problems to treat.”
He also advises that while a simple orthodontic case may cost around �1000, a complex problem may cost as much as �5000, or more, but many practices offer multiple payment options to spread the cost of your treatment. As a final note, Dr Hawthorn advises that to obtain the very best treatment, it is wise to choose an orthodontic specialist registered with the General Dental Council.
“Every patient that has orthodontic treatment will obtain benefits and advantages as straight teeth are easier to clean and a good bite makes chewing more efficient and comfortable. On top of this a great smile will boost confidence and will last a lifetime!”
In years gone by, losing teeth was a fact of life, and a visit from the tooth fairy was a regular occurrence. Now, modern dentistry techniques and education mean our oral health can be better than ever. It is clear to see that dentistry has changed vastly over the years, providing us with the care we need, with little or no discomfort, and in a pleasant and relaxing environment. Highly respected Hampshire dentist Clive Marks works from his homely practice on Bedford Place, Southampton and highlights the need to educate patients.
“If a patient looks after their mouth properly there will be very little dentistry needed which is highly cost-effective for the patient. The advent of Intra-oral cameras have helped us educate our patients about their own mouth. Once a patient is aware of what is happening in their own mouth they get involved with helping to improve its health and appearance.”
When asked if it is possible to keep all of our teeth as we age, Clive remarks, “Absolutely! As some wise man once said, “Be true to your gums and your teeth will never be false to you”. More adult teeth are lost because of gum disease, which can be treated, rather than tooth decay. In most cases, all that is needed is for the patient to learn how to clean into the collar of the gum, all the way down to the bone, in order to remove bacterial film, and food debris.”
New developments in dental treatments and care mean that many fearsome aspects have been removed. The advent of gadgets that silence the sound of the drill, and pain-free injections may largely improve how people feel about visiting the dentist.
“The initial sting of the injection can easily be reduced with surface anaesthetics in a glorious selection of flavours for example strawberry, wine gum and even pina colada!” laughs Clive. He goes on to say that even the dreaded root canal treatment doesn’t need to be dreadful!“Modern techniques of thoroughly cleaning the canals in one visit mean there is little likelihood of post-treatment pain,” and discomfort during the treatment can also be greatly reduced.
Clive’s advice for those nervous about visiting the dentist is to find one you can trust via personal recommendation. Ask a trusted friend who they go to see and even ask them to accompany you on that first visit. He concludes, “What ever state you feel your mouth is in, the dental team is there to help you take it to where you want it to be.”
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