At the time of writing this blog, the Sync Dental Centres is still closed for all but telephone advice and urgent dental emergency referrals. As things are very slowly opening up, with outdoor markets and retail due to open in the next few weeks providing adequate protection is in place, we are hoping that dental practices opening again will not be too far away.
We know that this has been a frustrating few months and that some of our patients will, inevitably, have suffered from dental problems during this time.
Some of the most serious cases will have been referred to urgent dental care units for essential treatment, whilst most cases will have been given advice on managing their problem, or provided with appropriate medication to keep the problem at bay until such a time that it can be treated.
When we are able to open again, our priority will be to treat these patients first. In today’s blog we take a look at some of the most likely dental treatments that will be called upon.
This is likely to be the most common problem we find. As it doesn’t necessarily result in discomfort initially, you may even have the start of the problem before the closure if your last appointment was none too recent.
This most common treatment is to have the decaying material removed, followed by an amalgam or cosmetic filling. Whilst amalgam fillings are the most traditional, white fillings provide a more natural appearance and bond very well with the rest of the tooth. In cases where the decay is more extensive, it may be necessary to restore the tooth with a crown or even extraction if the damage is too severe or prognosis too poor.
Some of our patients may have experienced problems with an existing filling. Although strong, these can break after a period of time. In the case of amalgam fillings, these can also shrink slightly, causing tiny gaps to appear between them and the tooth enamel, allowing bacteria and food to enter and lead to further decay. In most cases, it will be necessary to remove the current enamel and refill the tooth. If the natural tooth has decayed though, restorations such as a crown may be needed.
Good gum health is important as we have discussed before. The last several weeks may have seen our oral health care slacken off a little and our gums may have paid the price. Providing that you have generally taken care of your gums though, any problems should be manageable with a thorough cleaning from the dental hygienist here at our Addlestone practice. In fact, it would be beneficial for everyone to do this as a step towards returning their mouth to optimal health following lockdown.
As with teeth affected by decay, a broken tooth may be restored with a filling or crown, depending on the type and size of the breakage. Where it is a front tooth that is affected and the break in question is in the form of a ‘chip’, it may be possible to restore this with bonding or a porcelain veneer.
Our teeth become sensitive when the enamel which coats them thins. This can be caused by a number of things, including brushing too hard, but is also often caused by erosion through actions such as drinking too many high sugar, acidic drinks. Prevention is the best option of course, but where the teeth have become sensitive, you could try a ‘sensitive teeth’ toothpaste if it is relatively minor, or, for more significant sensitivity, it may be possible to protect your teeth using veneers which act to replace the natural enamel outer surface.
Everybody who comes to us has an individual problem and the above are simply guides to various treatments. Even when we are allowed to open again, unfortunately we do not know if all of these treatments will be available immediately. We will, however, endeavour to help all of our patients who are suffering with difficult dental problems and address these as soon as we possibly can using the most appropriate methods.
In the meantime, please continue to follow the governmental guidelines surrounding Covid-19 to keep yourself, and others, safe.
We can still be reached for telephone advice by calling the Sync Dental Centres on 01932 856541.