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Looking ahead

For over a year our freedom has been curtailed to keep Covid at bay, but it’s looking highly likely that many of the restrictions will be lifting on 19th July in England.

This, like most of the pandemic, has sparked debate across the country; some cannot wait to get back to some form of normality, others feel it’s too soon and are anxious about the road ahead. With daily cases having doubled in a week and the most recent headlines, stating that Leeds hospital is postponing elective operations due to a rise in Covid 19 patients, it is understandable that many people are still being cautious.

I have spent my week looking at our current patient journey and reviewing how we can introduce a bit more ‘normality’ here at the practice. It is important to bear in mind that the pandemic has brought with it many changes that are here to stay such as pre medical questionnaires which has sped up the check in process and video consultations reducing the need to travel to the practice.

There are some changes that we are longing to see the back of, but many of these are unlikely to disappear in healthcare anytime soon – things such as wearing masks around the building by both the team and clients, and the increased level of PPE worn by the team.

Many of you will be longing for the return of a lovely chat with our team members at the practice whilst you wait for your appointment, whilst others will still be wishing to wait outside.

It is important to remember that our practice will be both guided by the ‘best practice’ standards of our governing associations and YOU – our clients. We all need to be mindful and respectful of each others opinions and choices.

This next phase will see us continually adapting our services to provide an experience to you – the client – with which you feel comfortable, and meets the standards given to us by our governing bodies.

Whatever happens, it’s important to remember that, as a community, we can get through this next chapter together – happily and healthily.

Laura the Dental Therapist

To our clients who have not yet met Laura, we would like to introduce her. Laura joined the Christchurch Dental team in September 2019.

Laura is a Dental Therapist. She carries out the work of a dental hygienist but also has additional qualifications that overlap her duties with a dentist.

Dental therapy dates back to 1917 where at the time there was a shortage of dental officers and the armed forces needed to recruit higher numbers for World War I.

In response to the shortage, some countries (England included) recruited ‘dental dressers’. Dental dressers were the first therapists in the world.

Dental therapists train for 3 years at university and are registered with the general dental council to carry out duties including examinations, fillings and recementing crowns to name but a few.

Laura is an integral part of the Christchurch team and works alongside Derek and Ash to provide uniform care to all of our clients.

When it comes to enhancing her skills, Laura, as with all of our clinicians regularly undertakes courses to ensure exceptional clinical skills. She is currently undertaking a postgraduate course covering aesthetic dentistry and periodontics.

Laura is a dedicated and caring dental professional and we are delighted she is part of the Christchurch Team.

The importance of hygiene visits

A visit to a hygienist may seem like another thing to do on your already busy schedule but is key to maintaining your oral health.

Our hygienists carry out vital preventative care and a visit to see them is just as important as a visit to see your dentist. Even if you have a fantastic oral hygiene routine you should visit the hygienist so that they can clean those hard to reach areas. During the ‘scale and polish’ treatment tartar build up is removed. Tartar cannot be removed at home but the hygienists have special instruments and training to remove it. If left on your teeth tartar can cause many dental issues such as tooth decay, gum disease, bad breath and even tooth loss.

Some clients may want to avoid the hygienist due to experiencing bleeding and pain in the past at a hygienist appointment. Healthy gums do not bleed, so the bleeding experienced is due to the body’s inflammatory response to bacterial plaque. If the plaque isn’t removed effectively from your own brushing and flossing at home, it will irritate the gums and cause bleeding, pain, tenderness and swelling. When the hygienist removes the plaque in your mouth bleeding can occur because your gums are already inflamed. Over time, the hygienist will assist in reducing this inflammation. We want our clients to feel relaxed and comfortable at their appointment, however your mouth may be sore or tender after your visit. The hygienist will communicate with you throughout your appointment and give you lots of advice on how to improve your brushing and flossing techniques at home to help reduce any inflammation. Hygiene visits are an essential part of your care here at Christchurch dental and play a vital role in ensuring your oral health does not deteriorate.

Our clients who regularly see our hygienist demonstrate better oral health. They work with you to improve your dental habits and techniques, keeping you motivated.

If you have fallen behind on your hygienist visits throughout the pandemic, contact the practice so that we can get you back on track.

Teeth Straightening with Invisalign

When we are unhappy with the alignment of our teeth and are considering orthodontic treatment, it’s easy to fixate on metal train tracks, a restricted diet, and difficulty keeping your teeth (and braces) clean. I’ve been there and can completely relate to all of these concerns.

Due to the advances in dentistry over the years, there are other orthodontic options available. I had train tracks in my late 20s and wish that I’d explored all the options available to correct my smile.

At Christchurch we are an ‘Invisalign Full’ provider and have been providing Invisalign to the people of Ipswich since 2011. Invisalign is a series of clear, removable trays which guide the teeth into new positions. They are changed every couple of weeks as the teeth gradually move into the desired location.

Invisalign is a popular choice as the trays are comfortable to wear as well as transparent so they are not noticeable like train tracks. Metal braces can cause intense pain, however Invisalign shifts the teeth gradually, so you should only feel slight discomfort. They are removable so they do not restrict your diet as you remove them to eat and drink. You can remove your Invisalign aligners for special events such as weddings or a job interview. Your compliance in wearing the trays will determine the length of time to get the required result, however it is recommended that you wear them for 22 hours a day for maximum results.

We now have methods of monitoring your teeth here at Christchurch by providing you with a scanning box that scans your teeth at intervals throughout the treatment using just your mobile phone. This means many of the required treatment reviews can take place at your convenience and from the comfort of your own home.

In order to see if Invisalign is the correct treatment option for you, why not book in for a complimentary virtual consultation with one of our friendly treatment coordinators? You can discuss your smile concerns, and they can explain more about Invisalign treatment.

Smile Anxiety

I was scrolling through my Facebook feed yesterday and there he was – the singing dentist posing for an updated ‘Why is dentistry important’ poster – missing an eyebrow, but the first thing you notice is his smile, with a missing tooth.

How we feel about our teeth can affect our confidence. Around a third of people are unhappy with their smiles. You may have smile anxiety, where you are reluctant to smile in public – it’s one of the most common reasons people come to see us.

Like it or not, your teeth are one of the first things that people notice about you. It’s easy to hide under a mask at the moment, but with restrictions easing, how much longer will it be acceptable to hide behind a mask? In fact, some people are opting to get their smiles fixed now whilst they can hide behind their masks.

A recent study conducted by Bupa revealed that more than a quarter of people don’t like smiling because of their teeth.

28% of people don’t show their smile when taking pictures and 42% of people said their smile was the first thing they would change about themselves. Slightly more than one third of the people said they were embarrassed by their smile.

We understand that smiling with teeth you are unhappy with can have an impact on you.

You may have a missing tooth which can be a source of anxiety and lack of confidence when it comes to smiling. The good news is that there are plenty of treatments and options available when it comes to replacing missing or damaged teeth,  a titanium root being placed into the gum and then a replacement tooth is bonded to the site after a short healing process. If you worry about smiling due to tooth loss, this could be a treatment option for you.

You may have teeth out of alignment. Teeth can often move positions, which can leave you feeling self-conscious about your smile. We have some treatments available to solve the issue of crooked teeth, from Invisalign to cosmetic procedures such as composite bonding and veneers to help restore your smile.

Tooth whiteness has become a sign of having “healthy teeth” in recent years, which is largely down to the iconic ‘Hollywood smile’. If your teeth are discoloured and this is something that concerns you, then tooth whitening can help to restore your confidence.

If you’re self-conscious about smiling, then it is important to remember that your smile doesn’t define who you are. If you are interested in correcting your smile, then contact us today and arrange a free consultation with one of our friendly treatment coordinators so that we can help restore your confidence and help to eradicate your smile anxiety for good.

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