Stages of Gum Disease and Signs To Watch Out For

The thing to note about gum disease is that its main cause is bacteria, found in a sticky, colourless film forming on the teeth called plaque. Daily brushing and flossing is done for the purpose of removing this unwanted substance, otherwise plaque can build up. The bacteria in plaque can infect not only your tooth and gums, but also the gum tissue and the bone supporting the teeth.

gum diseaseA considerable number of people have heard of gum disease and its debilitating effects, but not many are aware it has stages. Knowing when a stage ends and when another begins can determine the dental intervention required by the patient’s condition.

The Three Stages of Gum Disease

Gingivitis

Gingivitis is the earliest state of gum disease. It occurs when the plaque buildup at the gum line causes an inflammation. This means toxins have irritated the gum tissue, thus causing gingivitis. Common symptoms are bleeding during blushing and flossing. Since the damage has not reached the bone and the connective tissue holding the teeth in place, this type of disease is highly treatable. Practising proper oral hygiene not only prevents progression, but cures the disease altogether.

Periodontitis

Gingivitis advances into periodontitis when the supporting tissue and fibres that hold the teeth together are damaged irreversibly. At this stage, the gums may recede or pull away from the tooth to form “pockets” below the gum line, which provide a dwelling place for food and bacteria. For periodontitis, dental intervention may be necessary. One of these treatments can be professional cleaning to remove the tartar and plaque.

Advanced Periodontitis

Advanced periodontitis is the final stage of gum disease. The bacteria have now destroyed the fibres and bone supporting the teeth, causing them to shift, loosen and drift apart. In this case, oral surgery will be performed to remove the affected teeth.

The main advantage of detecting your gum problem early is so you can prevent further damages. If you notice signs in your gums, such as bleeding, puffiness (swollen, red gums) and recession, take action and contact Northlight Dental for a consultation and treatment today.

A Bad Bite is the Reason You Snore

Snoring is both a good and a bad sign–it tells you of health issues you need to address. Unfortunately, it is something you cannot control. Stopping your snores will seem like stopping breathing altogether.

Orthodontists in Milton KeynesWhilst it is an involuntary reaction, there are ways to reduce if not eliminate the snores and other sleeping problems. One way to achieve that is by fixing your teeth. Understanding the relationship between teeth and snoring will give you an idea about the importance of having a good bite.

Bad teeth and snoring – what is the link?

Your snores may indicate that you have excessive overbite, a protrusion of the upper set of teeth over the lower. The bad bite pushes the jaw backwards, pinching the airway. The snoring sounds follow as the crowded throat tissues vibrate against each other. In worst cases, the crooked teeth interrupt your normal breathing as the air’s passageway is blocked completely, a disorder called obstructive sleep apnoea.

Certain factors further contribute to sleeping disorders for people with overbite. Obesity, aging, spirits or sedatives may produce more sounds during sleep. Studies and experience tell us that people who drink alcohol on a regular basis before bedtime are more likely to snore.

Your overbite may escalate to other problems, such as increasing your risk of developing high blood pressure, stroke or heart attack, and irregular heartbeat or atrial fibrillation. It is important to treat your bad bite early to prevent these issues.

Solving the snoring problem

Treatments vary depending on the severity of the bite and the snoring. Some dentists use mandibular advancement devices that hold the lower jaw slightly forward to prevent snoring. It helps you to breathe without sound, but it does not fix the overbite effectively. Apart from MAD, dentists use retainers or braces to align teeth. For extreme cases, surgery is the best but last option. Doctors strongly recommend a change of lifestyle for those with bad habits, as well.

The best way to stop your snores is by seeking advice from a specialist to know which treatment suits you. Orthodontists in Milton Keynes provide high quality dental treatments to correct your bite. We help keep your teeth straight to improve the appearance of your smile. Contact us for more information on orthodontics in Milton Keynes.

What is Your Halitosis Telling You?

Halitosis, or bad breath, is a concern often brought up by many of our patients. While it can be an effect of problems in the mouth, it can be the cause of many discomforts and disruptions in everyday life.

dental hygieneFor this reason, temporary measures like gum, mints and mouthwashes fill the store shelves. Although they provide immediate reaction against bad breath, these accessible products fail to address the root of the problem. Health conditions, particular foods and daily practices are some of the issues on which patients need to focus.

If you are suffering from bad breath, it is likely to have been caused by one or two of these factors:

Poor dental hygiene

The main issue with bad breath is that on our part, it is effortless to cause it. As simple as keeping your mouth dry for an hour is enough to leave a nasty odour in your mouth. Dental hygiene, then, is a critical concern in matters of persevering the mouth’s freshness.

Failing to brush and floss as prescribed will keep unwanted food particles lingering in the mouth, which cause bad breath. A colourless film of odour-causing bacteria will develop that if not rinsed off thoroughly, will not only lead to bad breath but also gum irritation. Moreover, forgetting to brush the tongue traps bacteria on its uneven surface, also resulting in a foul breath.

In more serious cases, bad breath can be a result of infections in the mouth caused by poor hygiene, such as tooth decay, gum disease and mouth sores.

Unhealthy practices

Passive practices like missing a day of brushing and sleeping can contribute to bad breath; the effect is much worse if you actively introduce harmful substances to your mouth. These include tobacco products and their derivatives. This is the reason chain smokers have a distinct, unpleasant smell in the mouth that simple brushing cannot eliminate. Over time, smoking can cause problems in the gums, which only worsens the case of the bad breath.

Certain foods

The habitual eating of spicy foods and vegetables, such as garlic and onion can also lead to constant bad breath. After you digest them, they enter your bloodstream, travel to your lungs and cause your breath to have a strong, foul odour.

Given the causes, your bad breath is either telling you that you are not cleaning your mouth enough, or you are eating and doing the wrong things. If you want to eliminate it for good, you have to start at the root the problem. Start enforcing a different diet and healthier lifestyle, and keep your mouth clean. Visit our dental hygienists today for a cleaning appointment.

Signs, Causes and Solutions for Receding Gums

Are your teeth longer than the usual? Or do you feel as if your teeth are sensitive or about to fall? If you experience these things, it only means that your gums are receding.

Dentists in Milton KeynesGum recession is a gradual phenomenon that may cause serious dental problems. Gums are the only things that bind your teeth to your mouth, so their loss may lead to tooth loss. Since your teeth’s roots are exposed, these will become more vulnerable to decay-causing bacteria.

It is important to know its causes to prevent its effects. Oral health experts cite some factors that lead to receding gums:

Gum Disease

Plaque will linger in your mouth when you do not clean it properly. It becomes tartar, a hard bacteria build-up in your gums that will destroy tissue and supporting bone that keep your teeth and gums intact.

Poor oral hygiene

Your gums may recede early if you brush or floss your teeth aggressively or inadequately. Brush your teeth with the right force and direction.

Genes

Some people are more likely to develop gum disease and recession because of their genetic makeup, regardless of whether they practice proper oral care or not.

Hormones

Changes in hormones may cause gums to become more sensitive and predisposed to gum recession. Females undergoing puberty, pregnancy and menopause are more likely to develop receding gums.

Lifestyle

You will more likely suffer from receding gums early if you smoke. Nicotine from tobacco products leaves a sticky plaque on teeth and contributes to gum recession. Piercings in your mouth and tongue may irritate your gums, causing them to wear out.

Oral habits and condition

Oral habits like teeth clenching and grinding put too much force on your teeth and gums, causing them to recede. The same thing happens when you have crooked teeth or a misaligned bite. Since your teeth are not in their optimal position, you may end up putting too much pressure on your gums and bones.

Whilst gum recession is preventable with proper oral care, the right habits and lifestyle, dental treatments are still necessary especially for worse cases. Dentists in Milton Keynes can give you advice and treatment if you have receding gums. Visit us or give us a call for more information.

Malocclusion and Speech Problems

Those who have a lisp and those who whistle when they try to pronounce certain words know that speech problems are a serious barrier in their social and professional lives. For instance, those in sales may find it difficult to win new clients if they cannot speak confidently during a sales presentation.

orthodontists in Milton KeynesThose suffering from speech problems may blame it on the nerves and issues with their tongue. Few know, however, that when it comes to chronic speech problems, the teeth are sometimes to blame.

Crossbite

Normal jaw structure has teeth on the upper arch slightly more forward than the lower arch. There are certain conditions where the overlap is excessive (i.e. overbite) or the lower jaw extends beyond the upper jaw (i.e. underbite). Crossbite is another condition wherein the position of one or more teeth is reversed.

A crossbite may result in the production of alveolar sounds (/t/, /n/ and /d/) if the tongue remains in a normal position. This is because the person compensates by pulling the tongue back. The sounds, which are normally articulated with /s/, /z/ and /l/ will be produced with /t/, /n/ or /d/.

Open Bite

An open bite occurs when the front teeth (both the upper and lower) are forced outwards to an extent that the teeth of the upper and the lower jaw do not touch each other—even when the mouth is closed. Much like in a crossbite, an open bite may result in an interdental production of alveolar sounds. To be more specific, those suffering from an open bite cannot produce the /s/ sound correctly, as there is a distortion of the airstream.

Overjet

In normal dentition, there is a small space between the upper and the lower incisors, which is about 2mm when the teeth are clenched together. If the space is greater, the condition is called an overjet. ‘Buck teeth’, as well as class II malocclusion wherein the jaw sticks out further than usual, is another example of an overjet.

This condition in a lateral or interdental production of sibilants (sounds with hissing effect), since the positioning of the tooth affect the position of the tongue and the airflow.

Do not let your speech problems affect your social and professional life. If you think your teeth are the problem, let our orthodontists in Milton Keynes help you with our range of orthodontic treatments, including lingual braces and Invisalign.

Call today and let our Milton Keynes orthodontists restore your smile, your speech and your life.

Genetics is a Contributing Factor in Crooked Teeth

In one episode of the American animated sitcom, The Simpsons, a dentist used The Big Book of British Smiles to scare children into practicing proper dental hygiene. Let us be honest, although British tea and good manners have an excellent reputation worldwide, British teeth are mostly used as a punch line in TV shows across the globe.

Milton Keynes orthodontistCrooked teeth, however, are far from being a problem exclusive to the British—the reality is that it is one of the most common dental problems worldwide.

Genetics is a Factor

A person’s oral health and the appearance of their teeth depends on a variety of factors, including their brushing routines, how many times they visit the dentist, and their preference for eating candies and other sweets. Genetics is another factor. People inherit their teeth just like they inherit their eye colour or the shape of their nose.

While majority of the issues involving the teeth are caused by poor habits, there are some that can be inherited—and that includes crooked teeth. This means that if a parent has crooked teeth or had to have braces at some point, there is a good chance that their child will also be born with crooked teeth.

Problems with Jaw Development

Misaligned teeth can also result from having a jaw that is too small—which is another product of a person’s genetic makeup. A small jaw does not always allow enough room for adult teeth to come in, causing them to shift after eruption, leading to overcrowded teeth.

Other problems with jaw development (e.g. a jaw twisted out of alignment) can also push the teeth out of the mouth, causing overbites, underbites or crossbites.

Fortunately, there are several orthodontic procedures our Milton Keynes orthodontist can do that can help correct these issues. Metal braces, for instance, are the traditional way of straightening teeth. They consist of small metal or tooth coloured brackets, which are gently bonded to the teeth and connected using a thin wire. Another option is the lingual braces, which is a more discreet solution than traditional metal orthodontics. Invisalign is an option as well, which is almost invisible since it only uses clear, plastic aligners.

Here at Northlight Dental, your crooked teeth and overbite will be a thing of the past with our range of orthodontic treatments. Call an orthodontist in Milton Keynes from Northlight Dental today to discuss your options.

Dealing With Cracked Tooth Syndrome

Have you ever experienced random pain when biting on a biscuit or drinking iced tea? You may have a Cracked Tooth Syndrome.

root canal therapyThis condition is fairly common among adults. It takes place on the biting surface of the tooth, and is often associated with an excruciating episode of biting on some hard food without any preceding factor.

How do you know you have cracked tooth?

The most common symptoms are pronounced sensitivity to hot and cold food and beverages, or painful sensations when biting. Other signs include sharp pain when applying force on a certain tooth, which may worsen if this pressure is increased, and when grinding the teeth backward and forwards.

They are due to the flexing of the dentine and inflammation of the underlying nerve (pulp) as mouth bacteria go into the crack. If left untreated, these cracks can spread like an actual crack in the glass.

What factors contribute to the development of Cracked Tooth Syndrome?

Cracked Tooth Syndrome can be triggered by bad dental habits, such as clenching your jaw and eating the wrong kinds of food. Jaw clenching forces the teeth, specifically the back molars, to grind together; the abnormal pressure applied on the teeth’s surface can cause cracks to appear. Gnawing on hard food, such as bones and shellfish, can also cause enamel to weaken and eventually fracture the tooth.

What are the treatment options?

Our dentists will treat cracks depending on how far and how deep they have spread.

For cracks on the cusp of your teeth, they can be repaired with crowns. Those that have gone deep into the tooth and have reached the pulp may have to be treated with root canal therapy, with special consideration of securing the nerves and blood vessels.

For the most severe cases, where cracks have spread to the tooth’s root, our dentists may perform extraction and replace the tooth with a bridge or an implant.

If you experience any of the stated symptoms, contact Northlight Dental or visit our office so we can discuss your treatment today.

Orthodontic Relapse and Your Teeth

Anyone who made the effort to straighten teeth by wearing braces for a year or more during their youth may find teeth shifting back into a crooked state later on in life. What happened? Even with the braces, the brackets, the wires, the frequent adjustments, the inconvenience of brushing and flossing all the time, and the ‘metal mouth’ remarks, why do teeth shift back in place?

Milton Keynes orthodonticsMany post-orthodontic patients experience what is called an ‘orthodontic relapse’—a phenomenon wherein the teeth shift slowly out of alignment following treatment. Most of the time, this calls for another round of braces or aligners to correct.

Why Teeth Shift Back

The shifting of the teeth after the removal of braces happens because of a number of factors, including genetics, tooth loss, habitual teeth grinding (propels the lower jaw forward and puts pressure on the upper row of the teeth, causing the teeth to fall out of alignment), and wisdom tooth eruption (pushes the lower teeth closer together, affecting alignment).

Another factor is when the patient stops wearing their retainers.

When the brackets of braces are done with the job, an orthodontist provides retainers because teeth become a little mobile while the bone stabilizes around the tooth root. The retainers make sure the teeth stay in their new position.

Because the human body is constantly changing, the teeth can shift throughout a person’s life. Teeth that come in perfectly straight naturally, or are set up that way by an orthodontist are not going to stay that way. By wearing the retainer for as long and as often as prescribed by the dentist, patients can keep their teeth straight for longer.

How Teeth Move

Teeth move in two directions. They can erupt towards the ones in the opposite arch—those that are on the lower row erupt upwards, while the upper ones go downwards. Another type of tooth movement is that when the powerful muscles that close the jaws apply more pressure inward, while the teeth go in an outward direction. The pressure they create then forces the back teeth inwards.

If you think you are experiencing an orthodontic relapse, call Northlight Dental—the go-to clinic for Milton Keynes orthodontics treatment. Let our Milton Keynes orthodontists help you.

The Challenges of Wearing Metal Braces (And How Invisalign Braces Solve them)

Some people go through any means to preserve and improve their appearance. They even go as far as wearing braces if it means having better teeth and smile in the long run. The yearlong procedure and discomfort, however, deter even those who need them the most.

Northlight DentalMetal braces cause many lifestyle changes and challenges, such as difficulties when chewing or speaking. These may affect a person’s self-esteem and appeal, as well. These require a dentist’s assistance to remove and maintain, much to the wearer’s chagrin. These increase the risk of getting dental problems since people will have a hard time doing proper oral care.

Whilst there are challenges in wearing braces, there is no denying their benefits, as well. Dentists use clear braces called Invisalign to solve them. Here are reasons people should wear these braces:

Comfort

Invisalign provides temporary relief and comfort thanks to its removable and customizable design. These are clear, plastic aligners designed to adjust teeth based on the wearer’s comfort level. People need only remove these braces temporarily if they have problems when interacting or eating their food.

Enhancing Appeal

Invisalign braces almost give an impression of not having any aligners at all. These braces eliminate people’s consciousness when showing their teeth and smile to others.

Convenience

Unlike metal braces, people need only remove these braces and brush the insides and outsides thoroughly. Clear braces does not leave restrictions when it comes to food, making it convenient.

Better oral health

Plaque and bacteria have no opportunities to linger since clear braces are easy to clean. People can remove these clear braces to floss or brush their teeth. Dentists replace these braces every two weeks for adjustments, assuring health and safety of the wearers.

Invisalign braces reduce, if not eliminate the hassle of wearing metal braces. These improve your teeth without sacrificing appeal, allowing you to talk and smile with confidence. Northlight Dental provides invisible braces that show off your smile, not your braces. We use modern orthodontic techniques and technologies to give you the smile you always wanted, without traditional, metal braces. Book an appointment to know more about invisible braces.

Enamel Erosion: When Yellow Teeth are “Permanent”

By now, you should know that there are a lot of things that can stain your teeth. Poor oral hygiene, smoking, and drinking tea or coffee too much are just a few of the many causes of an unattractive smile. In most cases, visiting the dentist and asking for a cosmetic whitening treatment is enough to reverse the damage, and restore your teeth to a more attractive colour.

veneersBut what if you always take great care of your teeth, follow your dentist’s advice, and still suffer from a yellow smile? To your frustration, no amount of brushing or flossing can help, and whitening treatments have only disappointed you. This is normal, and it has to do with the condition of your teeth’s enamel.

Why Some Teeth are Naturally Yellow

The enamel is the protective, slightly translucent outer layer of your teeth, and it gets thinner as people age. As the enamel continues to erode, the yellow layer below it (called the dentin) gradually becomes more visible. Tooth grinding or drinking acidic substances, like soft drinks, can greatly accelerate this process.

When this happens, whitening treatments will no longer help; there are no superficial stains to remove, as the yellow shade comes from beneath the tooth’s surface.

The Solution to Thinning Enamel

While conventional whitening treatments may no longer be able to give the smile you want, there are still options available to you. Dentists can place cosmetic veneers and crowns over your teeth, giving them a much whiter, more attractive appearance.

Veneers are the perfect choice for teeth that are strong and healthy, but simply have a few minor flaws. Apart from covering up yellow enamel, dentists will also recommend veneers to fix any cracks, chips, or other signs of damage.

Tooth enamel that is very thin or has suffered extensive damaged may not bond well with veneers, however. In this case, dental crowns are the best choice. They will not only give your teeth a whiter surface, but restore their form, function, and durability as well.

Giving you a perfect smile has always been our goal here at Northlight Dental. Contact us today to schedule your appointment or for any inquiries.