Oxfordshire’s Biggest Invisalign Provider
call us today 01235 813245

What’s the difference between a chiropodist and podiatrist?

September 30th, 2019

what’s the difference between a podiatrist and chiropodist

Offering chiropody services in Oxford means we often get asked the simple question, what’s the difference between a chiropodist and podiatrist? This blog post looks at some of these common questions, including top tips on how to look after your feet.

What’s the difference between a chiropodist and podiatrist?

The answer is that there is no difference, the 2 words are used interchangeably to describe the same thing… Essentially both a chiropodist and podiatrist are a foot doctor which both look at foot problems and care for foot health. Chiropody is an historic term which has been used throughout the centuries to describe someone that specialises in the health and well-being of your feet. According to the Institute of chiropody and podiatry, it wasn’t until more recent years that the professional title of Podiatrist was created to recognise the specialist qualifications of the profession.

What are the responsibilities of a chiropodist?

A chiropodist or podiatrist seeks to rectify a range of foot disorders, including but not limited to:

  • Callus (hard skin)
  • Corns
  • Dry cracked heels
  • In-growing toenails
  • Tough thickened nails
  • Verrucae

Difference between a podiatrist and a nail technician?

This is also a question that sometimes gets asked, a podiatrist has the professional medical qualification which enables them to register with the Institute of Chiropody and Podiatry, it also enables them to treat a wide variety of foot ailments.

A nail technician, on the other hand, is someone dedicated entirely to looking after the beauty of your nails, including shaping and colouring. Their skills do not extend to the surgical management of your nails nor to looking after any other of the common foot ailments.

How does podiatry differ from orthopedics?

A podiatrist deals solely with your feet whereas an orthopedic surgeon deals with skeletal problems around the whole body. Your registered podiatrists may work closely with an orthopedic surgeon should you have any skeletal problems with your feet which require surgical intervention.

How do podiatrists remove a callus?

Foot calluses and corns on your feet can be painful, however, you should be aware that if you have diabetes, heart problems or any other form of circulatory disorder you should not treat the corns calluses yourself and should seek specialist help from a podiatrist.

a podiatrist is likely to take one of the following courses of action to remove a callus:

  1. Designing specially made insoles are going to your shoes which can take the pressure off of the callus area.
  2. Applying patches to your skin to help soften the hard area to facilitate later removal.
  3. Gently cutting away and removing the corn or callus.

Is wearing shoes too often bad for your feet?

wearing shoes per se is not necessarily bad for your feet, however wearing poorly fitting shoes CAN be. If you have probably fitting shoes then areas of the shoe can run on your feet causing calluses and corns. These can be painful and tricky to remove.

How to deal with foot pain?

bones of your feet

image credit: myhealth.alberta.ca

Foot pain can be incredibly complex due to the complex nature of the construction of your foot.

Your foot contains:

  • 26 bones
  • 33 joints, of which 20 of them are actively articulated
  • Over 100 muscles, ligaments and tendons

Pain in your foot can also be caused by problems further up your leg. Even problems with your hip or lower back can mean that you change the way you stand or walk which can be transferred down your leg and cause problems with the complex anatomy of your foot. This is where a podiatrist really comes into their own, being able to understand exactly where the pain is in your foot and how it is caused and then knowing the best way to treat it.

Would wearing high heels everyday damage your feet?

Wearing high heels everyday can cause a whole range of problems. Because your weight is artificially shifted forward onto the balls of your feet…

  • your knees need to push forward to rebalance yourself
  • your hips have to push forward to maintain balance
  • you have to hyperextended your back pushing backwards to maintain balance
  • the ball of your foot which has some natural cushioning can begin to thin overtime, this soft pad can actually begin to atrophy

We, therefore, recommend not wearing high heels every day and ensuring you have well-fitting and balanced shoes.

Common sports injuries that affect your feet

There are a range of sports injuries which can affect your feet and require access to a podiatrist, some of these include:

  • Achilles tendinitis. The Achilles tendon is the largest tendon in the body and can often be affected by repetitive sports injuries such as dancing or running. Overuse of the Achilles tendon can result in degeneration, this can be exacerbated with age.
  • Neuroma. quite simply this is a pinched nerve in your foot. There can be a variety of causes including wearing the wrong shoes, trauma or congenital problems with the shape of your feet. Neuroma is experienced as either pain in the ball of your foot or tingling and numbness, particularly between the toes or big toe whilst walking and the nerve is being irritated. Treatments to reduce the inflammation of the nerve can include shoe inserts to provide more support or possibly corticosteroid injections.
  • Plantar fasciitis. The plantar fascia is a band of tissue which stretches across the art of your foot and takes a lot of the stress when you walk. The typical site of pain is at the bottom of your heal.
  • Foot stress fractures. These can occur in people who participate in high contact or high-stress sports such as long-distance running, gymnastics, dance and football. The broken bone can be caused by a single intensive trauma all by repetitive stresses placed on feet and ankles. A lack of training and therefore building up of the support structures around a person’s foot and ankle can make someone more susceptible to stress fractures.

In summary, ensuring you train adequately before undertaking excessive exercise with sports and ensuring you wear correctly fitting footwear with good quality support is some of the best ways you can help to reduce your chances of having sports-related foot injuries.

Swollen Gums Around a Tooth; Causes and Remedies

June 20th, 2019

 

One fine morning, while brushing your teeth, you observe that you have a swollen gum area around a tooth. No doubt this may be a worrying situation for you. However, there is no need to worry, as gum swelling is not as uncommon as it may seem to you. Here is everything you need to know about the causes and treatment of gum swelling.

What Causes Gum Swelling?

Swelling of the gums can take place due to a variety of reasons:

  • Poor Oral Hygiene – when you don’t brush or floss regularly, food particles tend to adhere to the surface of the teeth, which ultimately converts into plaque deposits. Over time, this plaque hardens and becomes calculus/tartar. Both the plaque and tartar are ideal places for the growth and replication of harmful bacteria. Ultimately, these bacteria lead to the inflammation and swelling of the gums.
  • Dental Abscess – an abscess is a collection of pus around a tooth. One of the most common symptoms of an abscess, apart from pain, redness, and fever, include swelling and inflammation of the gums, they may also bleed. The swelling arises due to the collection of pus around the tooth crown or root.
  • Trauma – swelling of the gums can also appear in case they become injured during contact sports, or when a sharp object gets stuck between the tooth and the gum.
  • Hormonal Changes – changes in hormonal levels during pregnancy, menopause or hormonal therapy can also result in the swelling of gums. Interestingly, the swelling can occur around a single gum or the gums around all the teeth.

swollen gums

In addition to this, some of the risk factors associated with gum swelling include:

  • Uncontrolled diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Genetic predisposition
  • Certain medications

Gum swelling can also be an early warning sign of gum disease which can progress painlessly on the whole. If left untreated full-blown gum disease could develop.

What are the ways to cure swollen gums?

The most common reason behind swelling of gums is poor oral hygiene. In most cases, gum problems will go away as soon as you start taking care of your oral health through brushing and flossing.

Gum swelling is generally a symptom of an underlying medical or dental problem. Therefore, treatment involves removal of the underlying cause. Your dentist or doctor will identify the underlying problem and then provide appropriate treatment. If required, your doctor may change your medication if it is causing gum swelling. Similarly, antibiotic treatment may also be required if the gums have become swollen due to an underlying abscess in a tooth.

Swelling of gums not only indicate an underlying dental problem but it also negatively affects your smile and facial esthetics. If you or anyone among your loved ones is suffering from gum swelling or inflammation, you should visit your dentist or healthcare physician without any delay. Failure to seek treatment can result in severe complications, which may even prove to be life-threatening. Hence, time is of the essence when it comes to treating gum problems.

How to Prevent Gum Swelling?

This is where we really start to talk about prevention rather than cure. The best way to prevent gum swelling in the 1st place is to ensure you have a good oral health care regime. This should include:

  • cleaning your teeth for 2 min twice per day with the fluoride containing toothpaste
  • don’t spit the toothpaste out afterwards but keep it in your mouth if possible
  • wait for 20 min after eating before cleaning your teeth to give them time to recover from the immediate acid attack
  • brushing in between your teeth at least once per day with either floss or an inter dental brush
  • rinsing after each meal with the fluoride containing mouthwash. Never rinse directly after brushing as this washes away some of the helpful fluoride in the toothpaste.

A balanced diet with lots of vitamin containing fruit and vegetables can also help prevent gum swelling and gum disease. Keeping sugar levels low will also have a dramatic effect on the amount of plaque which builds up on your teeth and therefore the amount of gum swelling which occurs.

Excessive sweating – Why Do I Sweat so Much?

June 4th, 2019

Excessive sweating-why do I sweat so much

 

Excessive sweating can lead to embarrassment from sweaty palms and hands to soak through shirts, not to mention often being accompanied by an unpleasant odour. So what can we do about profuse sweating? Why do we do it and how can we stop it?

our bodies respond to excessive temperature is to sweat. When our brain senses that our core temperature is rising then it begins releasing sweat from 2.5 million eccrine (sweat) glands on our body. This then lowers our body temperature as the heat in the body is used to evaporate the liquid from the skin.

In addition to the eccrine glands. We also have apocrine glands, which secrete a different type of sweat. This type of sweat contains more nutrients and is largely emitted in the armpit and growing areas, it is from this type of sweat that the smell emanates. These glands are activated when we get emotional or excited as well as during exercise.

Because the human body excretes sweat from these two different types of gland we need to ensure that we look at each type before we decide on how we can overcome the problems that sweating causes.

In addition to this natural sweating process. Some people also suffer from hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating), for these people the eccrine glands in the skin become overactive producing large amounts of sweat when the body actually doesn’t need it.

How to stop sweating

It depends on the reason for sweating as to how you can control it.

  1. Sweating during exercise. If this is you then try wearing breathable fabrics to ensure your body can regulate its temperature.
  2. Sweating throughout the day with no exercise. Try applying an antiperspirant before bed. After you have had a shower and are clean. Apply the antiperspirant, please take a little time to block the sweat ducts and should be completely active by morning. If you applied antiperspirant in the morning then the sweat ducts can be more active and antiperspirant doesn’t get a chance to work by blocking those ducts. You should also make every attempt to stay cool throughout the day, keep regularly hydrated and keep your body temperature lower by staying in a well vented room, this should help your body regulate its own temperature and negate the need for excessive sweating.
  3. Sweating whilst eating spicy foods. Well, you may just have to avoid those spicy foods!
  4. As a side effect from various medications. Seek advice from your doctor if you have started sweating excessively after beginning a new course of medication.

How to stop armpit sweat

Armpit sweat specifically contains sweat from both the eccrine (cooling) and apocrine (smelling) glands. This means that heavy sweating can lead to sweat stains as well as a bad odour.

Excessive armpit sweating, medically known as axillary hyperhidrosis can be treated with a couple of home remedies but you may need to talk to your doctor for some of the more advanced remedies.

  1. Apply antiperspirant before bed. Antiperspirants work by blocking the sweat pours in your skin, most people tend to sweat less at night, meaning the antiperspirant has a chance to get into the pores to prevent sweating during the day.
  2. Combine and antiperspirant (to block the pores and prevent sweating) with a deodorant to combat any lingering odour.
  3. Wear breathable clothes. This firstly prevents your body from heating up in the first place but also allows any sweat produced to evaporate through your clothes.
  4. Consider asking your doctor for prescription antiperspirants.
  5. Speak to your doctor or dentist about the use of botulinum toxin for excessive sweating.

Sometimes people suffer from primary focal hyperhidrosis, this is where the excessive sweating is not as a result of another medical condition or a side-effect of medications taken, primary focal hyperhidrosis is the condition itself. This does make things more difficult to treat as breathable clothes and antiperspirants are unlikely to work. Speaking to your doctor or a practitioner, which uses treatments such as botox injections may be an option.

How to stop sweaty hands – 9 Things You Can Do

Sweaty or clammy hands, known as palmer hyperhidrosis can be really embarrassing, particularly if you work in a social environment which includes handshaking. It can also make operating some equipment, like a computer mouse trackball really difficult. The good news is that there are a variety of ways to stop sweaty hands including, but not limited to:

  1. Dedicated hand antiperspirant. These are absorbed quickly and don’t leave a residue on your hands. Sweat Guard is one such product, others are also available.
  2. Wash your hands with water only. Unless they are particularly dirty, then, of course, use soap but remember that soap can try your skin out and exacerbate the sweating.
  3. Don’t wear gloves. Unless it is particularly cold out, avoid wearing gloves as this can prevent your hands from breathing and again make the more sweaty.
  4. Carry around a small container of talcum powder. Talcum powder can absorb excessive sweat and a quick dab onto your hands can work wonders.
  5. Reduce stress. If stress is the cause of sweaty hands try to identify why you are stressed and look at ways to reduce it.
  6. Ask your doctor for a prescription. There are some drugs which are able to reduce the amount that your hands sweat.
  7. Speak to your dentist about the use of botulinum toxin type A.
  8. Don’t skip meals. Low blood sugar can also contribute to sweaty hands.
  9. Avoid too much alcohol. If you are prone to palmer hyperhidrosis then alcohol causes your blood vessels to dilate, this then leads to warming of the skin which triggers your parasympathetic nervous system to kick in and you start sweating.

lip injections, are they a good idea?

March 5th, 2019

Lip injections, are they a good idea

As a practice that offers facial rejuvenation from our clinic in Oxford and Didcot we are often asked about lip injections, people often want to know if they are a good idea and what the potential problems could be. Our latest blog post is dedicated to answering these questions.

Do lip injections hurt during/after lip injections?

Lip injections will always be given with a topical numbing cream such as lidocaine and prilocaine, this ensures that the skin is numb prior to having any injections.

After treatment you may find there is some mild discomfort as the injection sites settle down, this will not normally last longer than a couple of days.

Why use lip fillers to enlarge your lips?

Lip fillers are one of the most natural ways to enlarge your lips, hyaluronic acid (dermal fillers) is a naturally occurring acid in your body. It is using your body to bind water and retain moisture, hence, as we age and hyaluronic acid levels decline asking can look drier and more wrinkly due to the dehydrated skin. Fillers can help to reverse this process.

Do lip injections damage lips?

So long as the lip injections are done in a controlled environment by professional with full training then no, lip injections do not damage your lips. This is one of the reasons that dental practices are some of the best places to go for a lip injections, dentists have such a detailed knowledge of the anatomy of the muscles, nerves and blood vessels in your head, face and neck. Beauty therapists, on the other hand do not have this detailed knowledge.

What is the lip enhancement or lip augmentation procedure?

The process is usually quite simple and includes:

  • An initial consultation to work out if lip fillers are the best form of treatment for you. During the consultation we will discuss any possible side-effects, additional treatments, ongoing care and costs.
  • Treatment begins at an appointment time suitable for you.

Usually all treatment can be accomplished in one single appointment.

What’s it like to undergo lip augmentation?

Treatment is usually:

  • Comfortable. Anaesthetic is given to numb the skin.
  • Affordable. Lip enhancement is usually start from about £380.
  • Quick. Treatments can often be completed in a single appointment.
  • long-lasting. Treatments often last for up to 2 before needing to be redone.

How long do lip injections last?

Typically treatments will last up to 2 years. Typically you may find that anywhere between 6 and 12 months you might see some difference in your appearance and require a top up.

What did your lips look like before and after lip injections?

The easiest way to answer this question is to show photographs of patients having before and after lip injections.

Before lip augmentation

Before

After lip augmentation

After

Before lip filler injections

Before

After lip filler injections

After

How much do lip augmentations usually cost?

Treatment costs can vary depending on the exact nature of the augmentation of treatment and the exact treatment. Typically lip enhancements start at around £380 and lip contouring from £350. There are also usually many special offers available.

More information on fees here.

Do lip fillers shrink lip size afterwards?

No, however after your lips have been made fuller and more plump with lip fillers, by contrast, once the fillers have been fully absorbed into your body it may look as though your lips have shrunk, they will only however have shrunk back to what they were prior to treatment.

Why are Botox and filler injections so expensive?

Botox and filler injections are always worth investing in the highest quality. After all, you are going to be asking someone to inject something into your face! You need to be sure that:

  • You know absolutely 100% what is being injected. NEVER purchase these treatments online and try to inject yourself.
  • You 100% trust the person doing the injections. A dentist is the ideal person to trust for this type of treatment as they have a detailed knowledge of the anatomy of your head, face and neck. Someone that has been on a short training course will not have this detailed anatomy, nor may not have the emergency facilities available in the event of any unforeseen allergic reaction.
  • The environment in which you will be seen is completely clean and sterile. You want to ensure that any cross contamination chances are all but eradicated, again this is another good reason to choose a dental practice as they will have proven cross infection control procedures in place and will also be highly regulated by the Care Quality Commission.

It is for the reasons above of using the best materials,  the best clinician in the best environment that makes Botox and fillers injections expensive.

One last thing to say about the cost is that it is worth considering this over the life of the treatment. A typical augmentation may cost £380 but could quite easily last two years, taking the cost over a two-year period means that treatments cost approximately £3.64 a week – The price of a large cup of coffee!

What is the difference between dermal fillers and botox?

These treatments working completely different principles. Wrinkle relaxation treatments such as Botox are a toxin which reduces the ability of muscles to move, by reducing visibility to move we can make the wrinkles disappear. Fillers, on the other hand inject hyaluronic acid into the treatment site, this is a naturally occurring body acid which binds water, therefore making your skin look more hydrated and younger.

Depending on which area of your face you would like rejuvenated will depend upon which treatment you have, dermal fillers or wrinkle treatments such as Botox.

What is tooth decay?

December 21st, 2018

What is tooth decay

Tooth decay can cause a wide range of problems so we thought we would summarise some common questions and answers in one of our popular blog posts.

Do teeth with cavities affect the surrounding teeth?

In and of themselves cavities do not affect the surrounding teeth however they may be an indication that your oral health is not quite as good as it could be, this certainly does affect the surrounding teeth. If the level of bacteria which are causing the cavity are high then it stands to reason that these bacteria could also be high on the surrounding teeth and cause similar cavities.

Why can a dry mouth cause cavities?

A dry mouth can cause cavities because the saliva is slightly alkaline and neutralises the acid excreted by the bacteria as they digest the sugar in your food. If you don’t have as much saliva as you should have then your mouth can remain higher in acidity and the acid attack on your teeth can then take hold. Smoking is one of the most common causes of dry mouth and this is why smokers tend to have more dental cavities than non-smokers.

What is the difference between root canal and teeth fillings?

From what you would see on the outside there can be little noticeable difference between the root canal and the filling however root canal fills deep down inside the inner nerve chamber of the tooth. A filling just fills the crown of the tooth.

How to treat a rotting teeth smell?

The only real way to treat rotting to smell is to treat the rot and get rid of the decay. You may find that chewing sugar-free mint gum or rinsing regularly with a mint mouthwash can temporarily abate the smell but it certainly won’t get rid of it. Only treating the underlying cause of the smell will be able to cure it completely.

How does toothpaste prevent tooth decay?

Toothpaste prevents tooth decay because it contains fluoride. Tooth decay happens because your teeth lose some of the minerals which keep them strong, this is called demineralisation. As this demineralisation happens small cavities conform into which the bacteria can hide, they then excrete their acid as they digest the sugar in your diet and the cavities get bigger. Fluoride helps to accelerate the growth of enamel crystals and also helps to initiate demineralisation of the tooth. This leaves the tooth less prone to the acid attack.

What is the purpose of dental floss and flossing?

Many people forget this most important part of their oral health routine. Brushing your teeth with a fluoride toothpaste is only a part of good oral health to prevent dental care is and protect your teeth and gums. Throughout the day a sticky surface layer called plaque build up on your teeth, this is made up of all of the bacteria in your mouth. If you don’t remove plaque then that bacteria are held against your teeth consistently. The plaque can also harden into what is known as tartar, this can then become very difficult to remove.

Because your teeth have large contact areas between them it’s very difficult to clean these areas with a regular toothbrush, your teeth are more than just the chewing surfaces, this is why dental floss or interdental brush is extremely important, to clean these difficult to reach areas to prevent cavities.

What are the stages of tooth decay?

The stages of dental decayIn the early stages of tooth decay you will get white spots on the surface of the teeth due to the demineralisation, these demineralised areas becomes softer and enamel caries (decay) begins. The tooth enamel if the extremely hard outer layer of your tooth, once the decay has gone through this it is then into the dentine caries. Because the dentine is much softer the decay can then progress rapidly.

The final stage is that the inner pulp of the tooth becomes infected, possibly leading to an abscess.

It is so important to treat the early warning signs of dental caries prior to its progression through to an abscess.

Can one reverse tooth decay or a cavity?

At the very earliest stages when white spots are indicating demineralisation this can be reversed with topical application of fluoride. This can help re-mineralise and strengthen the tooth. However, once the caries has taken hold into the enamel the only way to stop it is to have it completely removed and a filling placed to replace the missing enamel.

Which foods and drinks containing sugar cause tooth decay?

Sugary snacks that you eat or drink daily are some of the biggest culprits and causes of tooth decay. Bearing in mind that scientific nutrition experts recommend that no more than 5% of your daily calories should come from added sugar representing about 7 teaspoons, take a look at what these popular drinks contain!

The amount of sugar in drinks

With so much sugar in drinks, even things which we would consider healthy, like orange juice it’s important to monitor the amount of sugar you consume.

Processed foods, particularly things like ready meals also contain large amounts of sugar, so it’s really important that you are not just counting sugar as any added sugar the add to things like tea, coffee and cereal in the morning. Make sure you look at the packaging and take a look at the amount of sugar that all of your food contains.

Why are my teeth sensitive?

October 22nd, 2018

tooth sensitivityTooth sensitivity causes, home solutions and dental treatments

Teeth become sensitive when the nerve of your tooth becomes too close to the outside world. Surrounding the delicate nerves and blood vessels in your tooth is a layer of softer dentine covered with a hard outer layer called the enamel. If anything happens to the enamel dentine which means your nerve becomes more exposed then sensitivity is the result. You will normally find tooth become sensitive when you drink hot drinks, have acidic food and drinks or have something particularly cold like ice cream. Typical reasons this might happen are:

  • Cavities – Cavities occur when your teeth are affected by tooth decay as they become attacked by their acid excreting bacteria, the enamel gets eaten away leaving the softer dentine. If the cavity is left untreated the dentine will also begin to rot. As this process continues the delicate nerve has more of the hot and cold sensations transmitted to it.
  • Cracked teeth – Depending on how big the crack goes this can allow hot or cold liquids to penetrate deeper into the tooth and affect the underlying nerve.
  • Gum recession – The hard outer protective enamel portion of your tooth only extends down to your gum line. Below the gum line is the softer dentine and root of the tooth. Age, poor oral hygiene and over brushing can result in gums receding, as this happens they expose more of the root which is soft and transmits more hot and cold sensations to the underlying nerve.
  • Erosion – Exposed dentine can be quite sensitive. Consuming excessive amounts of acidic food including sugary drinks can erode the outer portion of the tooth leaving the sensitive nerve more likely to feel the hot and cold sensations of everyday eating and drinking. More information about tooth erosion.

Dentine hypersensitivity can also be a cause of general tooth sensitivity. This is not an acute issue as above but is more of a chronic problem whereby the tooth feels far more than it should during normal use.

What are the causes of sudden tooth sensitivity

Sudden tooth sensitivity can happen when the inner part of the tooth suddenly becomes exposed to the oral environment. Typically this will be through some form of trauma, very often a crack. It could also be that decay or recession has suddenly got to the point where your nerve notices the hot and cold. If you have no evidence of a crack in the tooth or indeed no trauma then we recommend you visit an emergency dentist if you have sudden tooth sensitivity.

What can you do about sensitive teeth?

If the sensitivity is caused by cavities, cracked teeth, gum recession or erosion then you will need to visit a dentist. A dentist can then apply some dental bonding over the area which is causing the sensitivity. Sometimes the dentist will use fluoride gels to facilitate this process. The cavities can also be treated.

If the sensitivity is general sensitivity without a specific cause as highlighted above then there are a range of sensitive toothpastes available. These toothpastes work by blocking some of the microbe tubes in the surface of the teeth which transmit the feeling down to the nerve.

Is it normal to have pain after a tooth filling

If the tooth has had a filling then it is quite normal for it to have some sensitivity afterwards. Teeth are alive and will notice that they have been worked on, this will naturally tends to make them more sensitive for a while. This sensitivity caused by the treatment itself should subside after a day. If sensitivity after a tooth filling continues for longer than this then you should visit your dentist just in case there is some problem with the filling or other problem with the tooth.

Ways to prevent tooth sensitivity

Preventing tooth sensitivity can be a challenge as it depends on the reason for your tooth becoming sensitive. You could use a sensitive fluoride toothpaste when brushing your teeth, this type of desensitising toothpaste can really help. If you grind your teeth you may like to consider wearing a bite appliance at night to prevent this.

Making sure you brush and floss your teeth to prevent gum disease is also an excellent way to prevent to sensitivity. Ensure you include every tooth surface when you brush, remembering that the largest tooth surfaces which often get missed where the teeth touch each other, you will probably need dental floss or an interdental brush in order to reach these areas.

Can dentistry cure your headache? Possibly, if it’s caused by bruxism…

July 27th, 2018

CAN DENTISTRY CURE YOUR HEADACHE?What is a headache?

According to Wikipedia:

Headache is the symptom of pain anywhere in the region of the head or neck. It occurs in migraines (sharp, or throbbing pains), tension-type headaches, and cluster headaches. … Treatment of a headache depends on the underlying cause, but commonly involves pain medication.

There have been many articles written on the various causes of headaches, including Many articles on how to treat those headaches… but did you know that a dental malocclusion and bruxism can also create throbbing and pounding headaches?

Headaches when eyes moving

This is a very common symptom of headaches, there is a huge range of causes for these symptoms but generally dental problems are not the cause of headaches when moving eyes.

Bruxism – Grinding teeth in sleep

So, let’s look at how dental problems can cause headaches. One of the biggest ones is bruxism.

What causes bruxism?

Bruxism has two primary causes:

  • Clinical/physical
  • Habitual

Clinical/physical causes of bruxism can often be due to the way the teeth meet, known as a malocclusion. Various treatments such as re-equilibration (selective grinding) by the dentist of parts of the tooth which interfere with one another can help enormously, as can orthodontics to move teeth to new positions so that they meet without these interferences. As well as headaches, bruxism can also lead to significant tooth wear.

Habitual bruxism can also develop as a result of the dental malocclusion but it will be significantly exacerbated by external factors such as stress.

The treatment of dental related  headaches

Both types of bruxism can be treated with orthodontics and also night splints.

Orthodontics can help to move teeth in to positions where they don’t interfere with each other in normal use. Sometimes your back teeth cusps may knock against each other when your teeth slide from side to side, the muscles around your jaw, face, head and neck will compensate for this so you may not even notice. It’s this compensation that can cause the headaches.

Orthodontics can move teeth to positions where this doesn’t happen and night splints can help to reset those muscles at night, therefore helping them relax. Night splints are a smooth clear plastic night guard, similar to a sports protection guard, that are worn on the lower teeth usually. They are thin and comfortable to wear and simply stop the teeth from meeting – because the teeth can’t meet the muscles ‘forget’ to compensate and relax over night.

If you have headaches and believe it may be caused by your teeth then speak to your dentist who will be able to advice on the best course of action.

4 surprising uses for Botox

June 5th, 2018

Did you know that Botox is a prescription drug and therefore it is not possible to walk into any clinic and ask specifically for Botox? Botox may be one of the treatments offered to help resolve your problem and indeed, the practitioner may decide that another form of botulinum toxin is preferable over the use of Botox. Throughout this article the terms botulinum toxin and Botox will be used interchangeably for the same treatment.

There are however a considerable number of uses for Botox which you may be unaware.

Facial lines and wrinkles

This is the most common use and is the most widely known use for botulinum toxin injections. The toxin works are relaxing the muscles and as they relax facial lines and wrinkles also disappear. Botox can also be used for:

Chronic migraines

This was first reported by Dr William Binder back in 1992. He was a doctor in Beverly Hills and he noticed that as he used Botox on his patients they tended to report fewer headaches after treatment. One of the manufacturers of Botox then began Testing his claims and found that they were indeed true.

Whilst the research conducted did indeed show a link between the use of botulinum toxin and headaches, it didn’t conclude as to whether the link was medical or placebo.

Excessive sweating treatment

This was also a side effect noticed by many clinicians in the early days of using Botox to treat facial lines and wrinkles. Botox stop excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis) by blocking the neurotransmitters that stimulate the sweat glands. Hyperhidrosis is a condition which affects approximately one percent of the population and doesn’t discriminate between men or women. The treatment was approved in the United States in 2004 and involves several injections around the affected area, usually in the armpits. The treatment last for around eight months each time.

Reducing gummy smiles

A “Gummy Smile” is a phenomenon that when some people smile, their upper lip elevates too far above their upper teeth, exposing gums and producing an unattractive smile. This happen due to a number of causes which can be assessed by your dentist/practitioner (This is one of the advantages of having a dental practice work with botulinum toxin as well as treatment). One of the causes is hyperactivity of the muscle which elevates the upper lip. Occasionally, the gummy smile is also aggravated by a thin upper lip that further contributes to the problem by exposing the upper gum even more.

Simply and safely we can help correct your gummy smile by reducing the muscles strong pull on the upper lip. To make a thin lip look fuller you may also wish to have some dermal filler treatment.

Bruxism or tooth grinding treatments

Bruxism is a medical term that describes the act of grinding the teeth and clenching the jaw. Regular and persistent grinding of the teeth can result in an ache in the jaw, headaches, earache, disrupted sleep and can also contribute to the wearing down, darkening and breaking of the teeth.

Most cases of bruxism occur subconsciously during sleep. It is usually associated with contributing factors, such as stress or anxiety. Severe bruxists often have overvdeveloped muscles giving them a swollen square like face.

It’s possible to treat patients with bruxism using a combination of botulinum toxin and mouth guards to help relax the muscles involved.

As mentioned previously when we were talking about headaches, you may also notice a reduction in the headaches after treatment for bruxism with botulinum toxin.

A word of warning About Botox

You should not be treated with BOTOX® if you have:

  1. a disease that affects your muscles and nerves (such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis [ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease], myasthenia gravis or Lambert-Eaton syndrome).
  2. allergies to any botulinum toxin product
  3. had any side effect from any botulinum toxin product in the past
  4. a breathing problem, such as asthma or emphysema
  5. swallowing problems
  6. bleeding problems
  7. plans to have surgery
  8. had surgery on your face
  9. weakness of your forehead muscles, such as trouble raising your eyebrows
  10. drooping eyelids
  11. any other change in the way your face normally looks
  12. are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. It is not known if BOTOX® can harm your unborn baby.
  13. are breast-feeding or plan to breastfeed. It is not known if BOTOX® passes into breast milk.

8 Tips to Relax at the Dentist

April 18th, 2018

blog title

It is estimated that around 5% of the population have some form of clinically significant phobia, however when we look at dentistry it is estimated that between 9% and 15% of people avoid seeing the dentist because of some fear or anxiety (1). That equates to millions of people missing out on an opportunity to keep their dental health in excellent condition and smile with confidence.

To help go some way to overcoming those fears we’ve written, 8 tips to relaxing at the dentist:

  1. Talk to your dentist beforehand
  2. Book an introductory meeting
  3. Agree a stop signal
  4. Come early in the morning
  5. Bring a friend
  6. State educated and engaged about your treatment
  7. Stay sober
  8. Consider Sedation

Let’s look at each in turn:

Talk to your dentist beforehand

It might sound simple, but a dentist is trained to understand how patients feel when they visit. If your dentist knows that you are anxious or afraid then they can modify their treatment to help suit you. Your dentist can offer more frequent rests and check-in more often with you to make sure you are okay. They can also possibly modify the treatment to be quicker and have fewer appointments, so it’s always worth letting your dentist know and being honest about any anxiety.

Book an introductory meeting

Most dental practices will allow you to pop into visit them at any time, if you speak to one of the team members you may even be able to have a visit to the practice beforehand. This can help to allay your fears and concerns and get to know the surroundings in which you will be seen. This is of course entirely your choice, some people prefer to spend the least amount of time at the dentist as possible, and this is equally okay.

Agree a stop signal

Whenever you begin a treatment agree a stop signal with your dentist. Shouting out with your mouth full of dental equipment can often be difficult, agreeing that you will raise your left hand, for example, if there is a problem can be a good way to stay in control. Many people find that when they feel more in control that their anxiety and fears can reduce.

Come early in the morning

Rather than wait to the end of the day it’s often best to come to the dentist earlier in the morning if you are anxious. This means you don’t spend the whole day worrying and being concerned and can just get up, come to the dentist and then get on with your day. Again, if you talk to your dentist beforehand and explain that you would like an early appointment then they may be able to be more accommodating.

Bring a friend

Bringing a friend can be a good distraction from the dentist, but decide what you are going to talk about beforehand. There’s nothing worse than sitting in the patient waiting room with your friend staring blankly into space! Taking a little bit of time before your appointment to think about what you will discuss can be a great way to fill the time, think about holidays, celebrations or perhaps discuss happy memories with your friend.

Stay educated and engaged about your treatment

Sometimes the temptation can be to withdraw from treatment and not understand what’s going on. However if you stay engaged with your dentist and your treatment, within reason, it can help you feel as though you are more in control. Fear of the dentist often comes from a lack of control over the process and being engaged with your treatment means you can give your feedback and feel more confident.

Stay sober

The temptation may be to have a stiff drink before you come to the dentist but this can often have the opposite effect. Alcohol may make you feel even more anxious or afraid than you were before and in extreme could make you behave irrationally, there is certainly a link between alcohol and your dental fear as found in a 2014 study (2)… Not to mention needing to go to the toilet more often if you had a drink!

Consider Sedation

One way that can really help with dental anxiety and even phobia is to consider dental sedation. Dental sedation comes in a couple of forms allowing you to relax and drift off into your own world whilst treatment commences. If you have intravenous sedation you will need to come with a trusted friend who will need to stay with you for a few hours afterwards to ensure you are okay.

Summary to overcome dental anxiety

Communication is the real key, talking keeps you engage with treatment which means you are more in control and communicating accurately how you feel with your dentist will mean your dentist can modify the treatment and/or appointment times to suit you and feel more comfortable. As the old advert says… It’s good to talk, and it really is!

(1) https://www.colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/basics/dental-visits/what-is-dental-anxiety-and-phobia

(2) https://bmcoralhealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1472-6831-14-86

Questions to ask when finding a new dentist

February 23rd, 2018

Questions to ask a new dentist

If you’d ever tried to find a new dentist it can be quite a mine field. Patients at our dental practice in Oxford often ask questions so we thought it would be good to summarise some of those questions in an article to help you find the best dentist in your local area.

If you’re looking for a new dentist you will most likely be either because you are dissatisfied with your current dentist or have a particular dental issue which you need to resolve in a short period of time, either of those situations can be quite stressful, hence writing this article.

Are you taking all new patients.

It seems quite obvious to ask this question, the reality is that most dental practices will be taking on new patients but not all will be able to take on new NHS patients. NHS contracts have a specific number UDAs (units of dental activity) this needs to be carefully managed by the NHS dentist to ensure they have enough UDAs to go round all patients that need them. Private dentists on the other hand are usually limited in the number of patients they can see purely by the hours in the day and the length of time they wish to spend with each new patient.

What if I am anxious of the dentist.

Most people admit to having some kind of anxiety about going to the dentist. If this extends beyond this into a fear of phobia it’s always worth mentioning this to the dentist beforehand.

Many dental practices will have special protocols to help deal with anxious nervous patients, some dentists also offer dental sedation which can help you drift off into your own world during treatment.

Always mention any fear or anxiety about going to the dentist to the receptionist when you initially call, they can then put your mind at rest and modified their procedures if need be to help you relax.

 

do you have any areas of special interest?

Some dentists, whilst being fully trained in general dental procedures will undertake further training in more specialised areas of dentistry. Some dentists take a Masters level degree in one of the specialist areas, these specialist areas are regulated by the General Dental Council in the UK.

Not all dentists decide to take this Masters level education but do however attend many ongoing and high quality training courses, in particular areas such as cosmetic dentistry or dental implants. If you have a particular concern which you would like addressed by your dentist it’s worth asking them if they have a special interest in or specialism in that particular area.

What patient reviews do you have.

Ask for dentist reviews

Knowing that you are seeing a dentist that has happy patients will always be helpful at setting your mind at rest. If the dentist doesn’t clearly display their reviews and testimonials on their website don’t be afraid to ask. Any good dental practice will keep a record of these testimonials and have them freely available whenever you wish.

can I pay by credit card.

If you have a particular means by which she would like to pay always remember to ask before treatment. Credit cards and debit cards are taken by most dental practices now but it’s good to ask just to be sure.

do you have a membership scheme.

It might sound odd being a member of a dental practice, it’s hardly like being a member of a local gym! However, membership of a dental practice will often give you travel insurance, discounted rates for treatment and access to emergency dentistry which is not available to non-members. Membership at a dental practice can begin from approximately £12 per month.

Do you have a payment plan available?

Payment plans can be extremely useful for expensive treatments. Some dental implant and orthodontic or restorative treatments can run into many thousands of pounds so having a payment plan facility can make things more affordable on a monthly basis. Many dentists offer either payment plans or finance.

Will I have all recommendations in writing before going ahead?

This is an extremely important question to ask. No one wants to be taken by surprise with treatments they weren’t expecting or costs they hadn’t budgeted for. Your dentist should always give you a written treatment plan of exactly what is required prior to beginning treatment. The treatment plan should include the treatment specific to you, exactly what will happen and all costs involved.

What is your cancellation policy?

Unfortunately it is sometimes necessary to cancel appointments at the last minute. Being aware in advance of what your dentist cancellation policy is can save heartache and upset. Most dental practices will have a 24-hour cancellation policy, after this time many practices will charge if appointments are cancelled without very good cause.

We hope you have found this article useful in discovering what questions to ask when looking for a new dentist. Do let us know of any other questions you can think of…

I am dropping a note to say thanks for all the work you have done for me, I am aware that I am not the easiest of patients. Your patience and explanations whilst work is underway was very much appreciated. The bridge work is really outstanding, here’s hoping I need nothing more than routine checks for some time.
- Mr R G
we are registered and regulated by
General Dental Council BDA goodpractice member CareQuality Commission