Prosthodontics: the science and art of replacing missing teeth

Even the loss of one tooth affects your other teeth, your jaw, and even your overall health eventually. Firstly, its corresponding tooth on the opposing jaw no longer has anything to bite against. Secondly, it can destabilise your other teeth, which can start to drift, tip into the gap and maybe even fall out.

At Kings Dental in Hammersmith, we have seen what can result from one lost tooth, and we always recommend getting a replacement for your missing tooth.

Prosthodontics in Hammersmith

Prosthodontics in HammersmithDentistry has long been concerned with replacing missing teeth. Prosthodontics is the name of the branch of dentistry that focuses on artificial replacements for missing teeth. There are several kinds to choose from these days, thanks to advances in dental research. You can choose between a fixed or removable replacement for the crown, or a replacement for both root and crown.

The fixed bridge

There are several kinds of bridges. The traditional bridges involve creating a crown for the tooth or implant on either side of the missing tooth, with a pontic (replacement tooth) in between. The most common type of bridge is made of either porcelain fused to metal or ceramics. We use cantilever bridges if you only have teeth on one side of the gap. Maryland bonded bridges (also called a resin-bonded bridge or a Maryland bridge) are made of plastic teeth and gums supported by a metal framework. Metal wings on each side of the bridge are bonded to your existing teeth. Bridges can last 5 — 15 years, depending on how well you take care of them.

Dentures

Dentures (or false teeth) are removable replacements for missing teeth. They tend to be made of either acrylic or porcelain for the crowns. They rely on suction to the gums for support for chewing. Complete dentures are used to replace all the teeth, while partial dentures are used when some natural teeth remain.

Dental implants

Dental implants are inserted into the jaw. They are titanium posts or screws onto which we attach single or several teeth. They can replace dentures, or be used to stabilise dentures. They are not available on the NHS. When looked after, they can last a lifetime.

Getting root canals in Hammersmith – common questions and answers

Root canal treatment refers to the treatment of the interior of the tooth. It is necessary when the soft tissue (also known as the pulp) becomes inflamed or infected. The inflammation or infection can have a variety of causes: tooth decay, repeated dental procedures on the tooth, faulty crowns, or a crack and chips on the tooth enamel are the most common.

More importantly, tooth trauma caused by an accident can also lead to pulp damage even if the tooth has no visible damage. If pulp infection is left untreated, it can cause severe pain and tooth loss.

Root Canal Therapy in HammersmithAt Kings Dental Clinic, we performed root canals in Hammersmith and we appreciate that if you have never experienced this type of treatment before, you probably have questions. Our experienced dentists are here to guide you through the procedure.

What is a root canal treatment?

During a root canal treatment, the tooth pulp and tooth roots are thoroughly cleaned to remove bacteria and other micro-organisms that cause infection. The bacteria and infected tissue remains are removed from the pulp and roots using special needles and chemical substances. Your teeth are then sealed with a filling or a crown for extra protection. Root canal treatment is necessary when the tooth pulp has become infected or when the infection has spread to the roots or jawbone.

When is a root canal treatment not possible?

Root canal treatment is performed when severe tooth decay or trauma has damaged a tooth that is worth preserving. It may not be a suitable treatment option if the tooth is badly damaged. In this case, it may need to be removed.

Which factors affect the outcome of root canal treatment?

Root canal treatment is usually performed in order to treat an infected tooth. The treatment is considered successful when the infection disappears and the function of the tooth is restored. Factors that may influence the successful outcome of root canal treatment include your overall health, the extent of the bacteria present in the pulp of the tooth and the structure of the roots canals. Sometimes, tooth roots are partially or completely solidified, making it challenging to clean the root canal.

A long-lasting solution to missing teeth

When you have a problem to fix, you really want a solution that is not going to have to be fixed itself later on. Finding permanent solutions is pretty much impossible. However, finding one that has you thinking ‘job done’ when it’s sorted, rather than ‘job done for a few years, and then I’ll have to do it again’, is what most of us are after.

Dental Implants in HammersmithWhether it’s fixing the gaps in the roof, or the gaps in your teeth, a permanent solution is always going to be preferable to a temporary one. That’s why thatch went out of favour, and why dental implants are fast becoming the preferred way to replace missing teeth.

You see, dentures and bridges might be great for a few years, but they wear out and have to be replaced, usually somewhere between every 5–10 years. Unless you are in your early 80s, or want to live fast and die young, then dental implants could well end up being comparable in price to dentures and bridges.

The success rate of dental implants is very high at about 98%, and, as long as you take good care of them with twice-daily, diligent flossing and brushing to prevent plaque, they should last you for the rest of your life.

This is a good choice if you are fairly young and an accident, grinding, decay or infection have caused you to lose a tooth or two. You only need one implant to support up to three crowns in a row. You can expect it to still be going strong 30 or 40 years later, when you turn up at the pearly gates with your pearly whites in place.

As dental implants in Hammersmith from us at Kings Dental Clinic replace the root of the tooth, you also get to hang onto your magnificent jaw. You may not know that losing teeth leads to losing your jawbone, but, sadly, it’s true. Implants stimulate the jawbone cells to renew themselves. With neither tooth root nor implant, the jawbone thinks it’s no longer in use and dissolves itself. With implants, you get to eat whatever you fancy and stay younger-looking longer.

How stopping smoking will help your oral health

Even though the number of smokers in the UK has dropped to its lowest point, one in six Brits are still smokers. Cigarette sales have been collapsing in the UK for a long time now, but it’s still important to stress the damage that smoking does to your oral health.

There is a long history of studies that have shown that smoking has a detrimental effect on your teeth and gums as well as the rest of your body. Many studies have noted how smoking is a leading cause of gum disease, which, in turn, is one of the main causes of tooth loss in adults, along with tooth decay.

Smoking Cessation in HammersmithHelp with quitting smoking

There is a lot of help out there for people who want to give up smoking. It can be an extremely hard task, especially with the stresses of modern life. Here at Kings Dental Clinic, we try to help as much as we can when it comes to quitting smoking.

In regular check-ups, we advise and encourage smoking cessation in Hammersmith. Our support can come in the form of advice and suggestions on ways to reduce the number of cigarettes you smoke, with the aim of quitting altogether.

We can suggest nicotine products that may help and give advice on the best ways to use them to reach your goals.

What effects does smoking have on my oral health?

Smoking has lots of effects on your oral health. Tobacco actually affects the gum tissue cells, making them more prone to infections from gum diseases. Gum diseases affect three out of every four adults over the age of 35 in the UK and 50% of gum disease is caused by smoking, so it’s a problem that needs attention.

Gum disease isn’t something that just happens in later life. More than half of the teenagers in the UK have some kind of gum disease.

Another huge issue that smoking brings is mouth cancer, which affects thousands of people every year.

Quitting smoking is better for so many aspects of your life and there is plenty of help out there, so why not start your journey today?

Strengthen and restore your teeth with dental crowns in Hammersmith

One’s smile is one of the first things we notice about a person’s appearance. People with a big, bright smile are naturally magnetic and personable. Unfortunately, if you have broken, cracked, or missing teeth, you might be unwilling to smile. Luckily, cosmetic dentistry can help you restore and transform your smile with dental crowns.

Dental Crowns in HammersmithAt Kings Dental Clinic, we use dental crowns to preserve and protect your teeth while restoring the appearance of your smile. Dental crowns are strong and durable and, in most cases, they look just like natural teeth. There are a number of materials that may be used for the creation of dental crowns: porcelain, ceramic, stainless steel, and resin. Your dentist will be the one to determine which type is best for your specific issue, though porcelain crowns are the most common since they combine maximum function and aesthetics.

What to expect

A dental crown installation will usually require two separate visits to the dentist. On your first visit, your dentist will examine the affected tooth and determine whether or not it can support a crown. If your tooth can support a crown, they will start filing it down to prepare it. If your tooth is significantly damaged, your dentist may need to add a filling as well. Crowns function like caps over the teeth, therefore it is really important that the tooth is prepared in the right shape. Once the preparation is completed, your dentist will take an impression and send it to the dental lab, where your permanent crown will be made. You will also be fitted in with a temporary crown until you receive your final crown.

When your permanent crown is ready, you will visit the dentist for the last part of the process. They will remove the temporary crown and position and secure the new one on your tooth with a special kind of adhesive. It will take some time for you to adjust to this new fixture, but eventually, you will get used to the permanent crown. Over time, your dental crown should look, function, and feel just like the rest of your teeth.

Stay younger-looking without going under the knife

As dentists, we like to see our patients at Kings Dental Clinic in Hammersmith looking great with lovely smiles framed by lovely faces.

That’s why we now offer simple non-surgical ways to a younger, fresher-looking face with facial aesthetics treatments. Cosmetic surgery is a pretty drastic way to stay looking young, and, once it’s done, it’s done — there is no going back. That’s ok if it looks good, but what if you have some disastrous results and you no longer look like you. Far better to have temporary treatments that last a few months with a dentist, who has a deep training and understanding of the many muscles, nerves, and blood vessels that go to make up the face.

Facial Aesthetics in HammersmithBotox

Botox is a purified protein from the botulinum type A toxin, which is injected into the muscles. Over a few days, it gradually paralyses the nerves that send signals to the muscles, preventing them from contracting into wrinkles. Botox works as a treatment on the forehead, crow’s feet, and frown lines. It lasts for three or four months and top up treatments are recommended.

Dermal fillers

These plump out the hollows and wrinkles that form as the skin stops producing as much collagen and hyaluronic acid, and loses fat deposits from under it. All three work to produce that plump, dewy look associated with younger skin. Dermal fillers are hyaluronic acid that is injected, with a local anaesthetic, under the skin to fill out hollows and wrinkles and recreate areas that have lost their plumpness. It’s great for lips, nasolabial lines, and marionette lines. Fillers last for 6–12 months, depending on which area is being treated.

Thread lift

Polidioxanone is a strong, synthetic tissue that dissolves in the skin after it has been in place for some time. It was first used to hold wounds together, but is now also very successfully used to tighten the skin. The threads are inserted under the skin, often from the mouth area to the upper cheek or ear area, and are pulled tight to lift the skin back towards the edges of the face. Treatments last for about 10 months to 2 years.

Cosmetic dentistry is for everyone

If you watch a lot of reality shows on TV, you could be forgiven for thinking that cosmetic dentistry is only for young people with buff bodies and a few wonky teeth. No, not at all. Cosmetic dentistry is the saviour of people who have lost teeth, or whose teeth have been reduced to ugly little stumps in their mouths, through decay, gum disease, and sheer old age. Everybody should be able to enjoy a lovely smile, not just the young and beautiful.

At Kings Dental Clinic in Hammersmith, cosmetic dentistry is giving people their dignity and self-respect back. If you take a look at our before and after pictures, you will see what we are talking about.

Cosmetic Dentistry in HammersmithNot just aesthetics

You don’t need to wait until your teeth are truly worse for wear before getting them fixed. If you need to justify it to yourself, you will be pleased to know that, in general, cosmetic dentistry gives you better oral health. If you get your teeth straightened with what are considered to be cosmetic braces (or aligners), your teeth will have fewer nooks and crannies in which plaque can hide and turn into tartar, leading to tooth decay and gum disease.

Having teeth that you can chew properly on means that you can eat really good nutritious food, like fruit and raw vegetables. When you don’t have this capability, you can end up on a soft food diet, and this can lead to malnutrition.

Dental implants seem to fall into the category of cosmetic dentistry, but they are the only tooth restoration method that gives artificial teeth a solid anchor, which you can chew on.

Of course, there are some cosmetic dentistry treatments that are purely cosmetic, like teeth whitening. This does nothing for your ability to chew, or to keep your mouth healthy, but it can do a lot for your state of mind. If we can’t smile, we can’t release the natural chemicals that make us feel happy, and we can’t connect with other people. So, as you can see, cosmetic dentistry is about so much more than how you look.

Brighten your teeth with teeth whitening in Hammersmith

Do you have yellow and stained teeth that make you feel uncomfortable about smiling? Though not as serious as other dental conditions, yellow and discoloured teeth can cost you your confidence and self-esteem. Luckily, improving the colour of your teeth can be achieved with professional teeth whitening.

Professional teeth whitening in Hammersmith is a quick and effective cosmetic treatment. At Kings Dental Clinic, we are passionate about making sure our patients have smiles they feel proud of. We deliver two types of teeth whitening – power whitening and home whitening. Both treatments are safe and can whiten your teeth by several shades.

Teeth Whitening in HammersmithCommon causes of yellow and discoloured teeth

Generally, yellow teeth do not signify a serious health condition. Most people see their teeth darken as their age, while poor oral hygiene is a common cause of discoloured teeth. Smoking is also responsible for staining the teeth as well as common foods and drinks including coffee, tea and dark-coloured berries. Last but not least, yellow teeth are sometimes related to certain medications, while some people may simply have them due to genetic reasons.

While there are a wealth of different factors that can influence the aesthetic appearance of your teeth, it’s important to remember that you can always speak to your dentist about different ways to protect them.

Teeth whitening in Hammersmith

Power whitening is a very simple and effective procedure for those who wish to whiten their teeth quickly in preparation for a special occasion. This type of whitening can last an hour or so and can be completed at the dental practice in one visit. Your dentist will protect your gums with a special protector and then apply concentrated whitening gel on your teeth. They will then position a special light against your teeth. This light will activate the procedure, removing stains and discolouration from your teeth.

Home whitening, on the other hand, involves a custom-made, lightweight plastic mouth tray that fits comfortably over your teeth. Your dentist will provide you with a whitening gel to use along with the tray while at home for a few hours every day (or at night). Your teeth will appear whiter and brighter almost two weeks after the beginning of the treatment.

Overcome your dental phobia in Hammersmith

If you are afraid of the dentist, you are not alone. Studies have shown that about 1 in 4 people dread visiting the dentist and some of them keep postponing their visit until it is too late. Dental phobia doesn’t have a single cause. It might be a fear of pain during treatment, or perhaps the sounds and smells which might bring back memories of a bad dental experience, usually during a patient’s childhood.

At Kings Dental Clinic in Hammersmith, we understand that everyone’s fears are different and we will help you overcome them. Our lead dentist has more than 15 years of experience in treating nervous patients and we offer various sedation options. Our relaxation sedation uses happy air, a mixture of nitrous oxide and oxygen, to breathe through a small mask over your nose and not needles – a leading cause of dental phobia.

Dental Phobia in HammersmithIf you have to visit the dentist but suffer from dental phobia, our caring and understanding team will guide you through every step of the treatment. We are here to help you and not judge you.

Common causes of dental phobia

There are many reasons why people are afraid of the dentist, some of which are unique for each individual. Generally, fear of pain is a very common reason to avoid visiting the dentist – that is until the pain becomes an issue. This fear, which is often logical given that some dental treatments used to be painful, usually comes from childhood experiences. However, thanks to recent advances in dentistry, modern treatments are almost pain-free. Some patients, on the other hand, avoid visiting the dentist because they feel helpless and out of control. Finally, quite a few people feel embarrassed about the state of their teeth and, in their minds, that’s a valid reason not to visit the dentist.

Talking to your dentist about your phobias is the first step towards overcoming them. Once they know what your fears are, they will be able to determine the best ways to make you feel less anxious and more comfortable.

If lack of control is one of your main concerns, actively discussing with your dentist about your own treatment can help you overcome the tension.

Preventive dentistry and oral health in Hammersmith

Preventive dentistry is the branch of dentistry that helps you keep healthy teeth and gums. Even if you brush and floss your teeth daily, you still have to visit the dentist for regular check-ups and cleanings to ensure that you are not suffering from gum disease or tooth decay – the two most common causes of tooth loss. Working together with your dentist will help prevent the need for complex and expensive treatment.

Oral Health in HammersmithAt Kings Dental Clinic in Hammersmith, we strive to keep your teeth and gums healthy. The biggest part of achieving and preserving a healthy smile involves a commitment to healthy practices and proper oral hygiene. Our experienced dental hygienists will educate you on the basic tools and techniques required for maintaining your teeth and gums. Your home efforts coupled with our efforts at our practice, will help you avoid cavities, gum disease, enamel wear and other common dental conditions associated with poor oral health and negligence.

Preventive care strategies for optimal oral health

Basic preventive oral care strategies are easy to follow by both children and adults and will help you maintain your smile healthy and plaque-free between visits to your dentist. When it comes to personal oral care, the most important prevention technique is brushing and flossing your teeth at least twice a day to remove food debris and dental plaque from your teeth and gums. When you brush your teeth, ensure that you gently place the toothbrush below your gum line to remove as much plaque as possible.

If not removed, plaque can harden into tartar, a sticky substance full of bacteria than can cause tooth decay and gum disease. Your dentist can remove plaque and tartar during your regular cleaning, yet it is really important to remove as much as possible from your teeth after each meal.

In some cases, your dentist may recommend fluoride treatment after a cleaning, to strengthen your teeth and prevent tooth decay. A balanced diet, on the other hand, is also important in your fight against gum disease and tooth decay.

Ultimately, taking good care of your teeth and visiting the dentist regularly for check-ups and cleanings is the best strategy for keeping your teeth and gums healthy and plaque-free for a long time.