Periodontal Disease. All you need to know.

Many people worry about gum and periodontal disease, the two often get confused so this blog post is dedicated to helping you understand the differences between gum and periodontal disease as well as how to treat both… And, probably most importantly, how to prevent both!

Statistics for Periodontal Disease

  • 45% population have chronic periodontal disease
  • 70.1% of adults over 65 have gingivitis  (2010 estimates from the USA)

These statistics show the prevalence of periodontal and gingival disease. These people are all at risk of developing additional systemic health problems if their oral health problems are not kept under control.

Health issues associated with poor Dental Health

There are a variety of systemic illnesses and oral health (OH) links, including but not limited to:

  • Diabetes and OHRead research which shows the link between persistent poor glycaemic control and the incidence of gingivitis , periodontitis and alveolar bone loss.
  • High Blood Pressure and OHfind out more
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome and OHRead research which shows that the microbiom is a potential source of inflammation in irritable bowel syndrome
  • Autoimmune diseases and OHRead research which shows that patients with higher plaque index are more likely to develop autoimmune diseases in 30 years.
  • Possible Erectile Dysfunction Syndrome Read research which shows that oral health could be considered a risk factor for erectile dysfunction
  • Gum disease and heart palpitations find out more

How do you know if you have gum disease? 

Gingivitis is classified as a superficial infection of the gums, bleeding whilst brushing is usually a warning sign and if left untreated it can lead to more serious periodontitis.

Symptoms of gum disease (gingivitis) include:

  • Reddening of the gums.
  • Puffy gums.
  • Gums which lead either spontaneously or during brushing.
  • Buildup of plaque in between teeth into sticky, hard tartar.
inflamed gums
inflamed gums caused by a buildup of tartar

How do you know if you have periodontal disease?

Periodontal disease (periodontitis) is a profound inflammation of the gum and other tissues. It can lead to tooth loss and may affect general health, particularly cardiovascular health. It also has health risks for people prone to diabetes or for pregnant women.

Symptoms of periodontal disease include::

  • Gums that bleed during or after brushing.
  • Continuous bad breath which cannot be alleviated by either brushing or mouthwash.
  • Gum recession (showing more tooth as the gums pull away).
  • The pockets around the teeth which may have a tendency to pack with food and be difficult to clean.
  • Drifting or loose teeth.

How can periodontal disease be fixed? 

There are a few treatments to fix periodontal disease, depending on how far the disease has advanced.

Treatment in the Early Stages

Initially your dentist or periodontist may carry out the nonsurgical treatments, this involves a root planing procedure. This is where the tartar that has hardened on your tooth is scraped away beneath the gum line. It can often take a few visits to completely remove and clean the tooth.

After the tartar has been scraped away the soft tissue can then reattach and completely heal after a few weeks.

Very often a local anaesthetic is used to make the treatment comfortable.

Treatment in More Advanced Stages

As periodontal disease progresses it becomes more difficult to treat and often surgical procedures are required. These can include:

  • Gum Grafts. Very often the gum will have receded with advanced periodontal disease, grafts can be taken from other areas of your mouth (usually the palate) and grafted to rebuild the gum that has been lost. This can help reduce sensitivity around any exposed roots.
  • Bone grafting. In conjunction with the gum grafting bone grafting can help to restore infected tissue. A synthetic or natural bone graft will be used to replace lost bone giving the soft tissue a structure on which to reattach and re-grow.
  • Pocket reduction. This occurs when the plaque and bacteria pack themselves down next to the tooth to create a large pocket where the soft tissue is not attached. Pocket reduction treatments involve a periodontist opening a small flap of soft tissue providing access to the underlying tooth. The tooth can then have any infected tissue remove, the area can then be left to heal.

Is periodontal disease reversible

Yes, although if it is left completely untreated it will progress and result in tooth loss. The more periodontal disease is left to progress without treatment the more difficult it is to treat and a more difficult it is to save teeth, bone and gum. The key is to get treatment under way as soon as the disease is detected.

What other problems can periodontal disease cause? 

  • Altered taste. The bacteria in the mouth can give a nasty taste which doesn’t go away.
  • Bad breath even after brushing. This is caused by the bacteria and infection involved.
  • Tooth loss; gaps develop, loose teeth
  • Reduced enjoyment of food, caused by mobile teeth and pain.
  • Limited diet as the teeth are not able to chew food enough.
  • Reduced nutrition (meats/fibre foods that need chewing) 

This then all results in:

  • Altering stomach acids and the ability to digest food
  • A lack of confidence due to the bad taste, bad smell and inability to eat.

What happens if periodontal disease is not treated?

  • It can become a factor in other long term dental and health problems 
  • Treatment can be costly if left until late

Other factors to consider

if you have periodontal disease, all is not lost. It can be managed by kickstarting gums back into health using holistic/conservative management techniques. Initially there may be multiple visits and the cost of treatment can be broken down.

If you are concerned about gum disease or periodontal disease and would like a professional opinion about the treatments available, please do get in touch.

Wisdom Teeth Removal – All You Need to Know

wisdom tooth removalThe third molars, or the wisdom teeth, are the last ones to erupt among the permanent teeth. Since they erupt, if they do erupt, at a mature age, normally between 17 and 25, they are often called “wisdom” teeth. Of course, there is no real connection between the eruption of wisdom teeth and intelligence. If you haven’t got your wisdom teeth, or have less than four of them, you do not have to go to a neurophysician.  But you may need to see your dentist if you still haven’t got some or all of your wisdom teeth by your 25th birthday.

Impacted Wisdom Teeth

the position of wisdom teeth

Wisdom teeth behave rather like elderly people. They are the last teeth to erupt in each jaw. And they may erupt partially or may not erupt at all. Teeth which do not erupt properly or remain below the gum are called “impacted” teeth. Most of the problems associated with wisdom teeth are associated with their impaction. Some of them include.

  • Pain– This is the first and the least bothersome effect.
  • Pericoronitis – Neglect can lead to gum injury under pressure of chewing and may result in infection in the gum tissue. This condition is called pericoronitis.
  • Damage to adjacent teeth– Impacted wisdom teeth can damage the growth and alignment of adjacent teeth. Also, the infection may be transferred to neighboring gums and teeth.
  • Cysts and Other Swelling –Cysts and swellings, if they form around an impacted tooth, require removal of the affected wisdom tooth fluid/pus-filled sacs.
  • Damage to the bone
  • Malocclusion – Not only can impacted wisdom teeth interfere with the correct alignment of neighboring teeth, but they can also make their realignment difficult. Therefore, if your dentist feels that there is a lack of space in your jaws for proper orthodontic treatment of all the teeth, he or she may decide to remove your wisdom teeth.

Extraction of Wisdom Teeth; Is it the Only Option?

In view of the reasons listed above dentists normally advise the extraction of an impacted wisdom tooth which is found to be a source of one more of these above problems. Some dentists even advise an unconditional removal all wisdom teeth whether they get impacted or not. The removal of a tooth is much easier when it has not yet grown large roots. For this reason, the American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that individuals between ages 16 and 19 should have their wisdom teeth assessed to determine if extraction would be useful as a preventive step.

Very often this is done by your dentist or oral surgeon.

The logic supporting this approach is:

  • The impacted tooth is a likely source problem in the future even if not now. this means there is lower risk of complications.
  • Even symptom-free wisdom teeth can harbor infection which can appear or spread later.
  • Wisdom teeth promote the chances of acquiring gum disease and tooth cavities (caries).
  • Extraction of a wisdom tooth at later ages will definitely be more difficult when it has become more firmly rooted.

Is the Extraction of Wisdom Teeth Risky – What Are the Complications?

Extraction of wisdom teeth normally does not result in any long-term complications. However, in some rare cases, one or more of the following issues may come up:

  • Dry socket– If the blood clot formed after surgery is removed a condition known as dry socket may result, this is effectively an empty tooth socket where the clot fails to form, it is usually very painful. However, this condition arises rarely.
  • Infection of extraction sites– Normally your dentist will advise antibiotics to prevent any follow-up infection. But in case of non-compliance infection may result.
  • Sinus damage– There is a possibility sinus damage in case of extraction upper wisdom teeth. However, your dentist is well aware of this and will take the necessary precautions during the procedure. You have nothing to worry about if the procedure is performed by a qualified and experienced dentist.
  • Weakening of the jawbone– This is a remote possibility.
  • Damage to nerves– Damage to nerves in the vicinity of the wisdom teeth can result in the reduction, or even loss of sensation in the lower lip, tongue or the chin region.

The procedure of Wisdom Tooth Removal

wisdom tooth removal procedure

  • Anesthesia– It is a normal practice to give anesthesia to avoid pain during the procedure. It can be one of three types depending on the pain threshold level.
    • Local anesthesia. Anesthetic injections are given in the region around the tooth with a very fine and sharp needle. To avoid the pain of injection you may even be applied with a numbing liquid. You will remain fully awake during the surgery but will not feel any pain. It is possible that you do feel some pressure.
    • Sedation– An intravenous injection may be given in your arm to sedate you. Sedation will make you unconscious. Additionally, a local anesthesia may be used to numb your gums.
    • General anesthesia. This will be needed only in very special cases. General anesthesia (GA) makes you totally unconscious.  Under GA, your body functions like blood pressure,  breathing rate, temperature, and fluids are closely monitored by the team.
  • Incision– A cut is made in the top of the gum to expose the tooth and the underlying bone.
  • Bone Removal – Any bone which is impeding access to the tooth is removed.
  • Tooth Sectioning – The tooth may be divided into sections if the dentist finds it easier to remove the tooth in parts.

Wisdom teeth removal recovery time

Full recovery after having a wisdom tooth removed is usually a few weeks. You should, however, begin to notice that the bruising and swelling and immediate pain reduces after 24 hours. If you continue to feel pain then use an ice pack on your cheek.

After 48 hours you could consider a salt water mouthwash to gently swirl around your mouth, please avoid excessive and violent washing of your mouth as this could dislodge the clot.

Time off work after having a wisdom tooth removed

Depending on the job you have it is normally advised to have 48 hours off, this just gives the initial healing phase time to begin. When you go back to work avoid rushing around and increasing your blood pressure too much, also avoid stimulants such as caffeine as this again may increase your heart rate and blood pressure which could dislodge the clot.


How to find a holistic dentist UK

how to find a holistic dentist UKWhen one uses the term holistic dentist it can conjure up all sorts of visions about weird and wacky treatment options. That’s definitely not how we view the term holistic dentist!

‘Holistic’ is not the same as ‘alternative’ and so our vision of holistic dentistry is as follows:

  • Seeing all people as a whole without classifying patients into groups, everyone is different and an individual.
  • Identifying the habits and things people do that impact their oral health and helping with these habits etc for example, smoking.
  • Explaining the links between dental health and overall health and helping patients with both.
  • Taking a minimally invasive approach to all treatments and helping patients solve dental problems at home, wherever possible.
  • Using ethically sourced materials.
  • Using Continu cleaning materials, these are biologically safe and we have even sprayed them into our mouths to prove it!
  • Conserving energy by switching off unnecessary lights and keeping air-conditioning to a minimum.
  • Separating and recycling waste.
  • Purchasing UK locally sourced, organic vegetables from farmers markets.

Our view is that we should then take these values, ideas and beliefs into our regular dental treatment.

How does a holistic dentist deal with gum disease?

Being a holistic dentist means understanding the whole body. Gum disease can progress painlessly on the whole and yet it can affect your whole body, here’s how:

holistic dentist treating gum disease

Unfortunately, there really aren’t any home remedies to treat gum disease.

Holistic dental hygiene

The core of holistic dental hygiene is to ensure that you look after your teeth properly, here’s how:

  • Clean your teeth twice per day with the fluoride containing toothpaste. Fluoride helps the outer layer of your tooth remineralisation and stay hard meaning it can counteract the effects of acid and tooth decay.
  • Make sure you brush for 2 min each time.
  • Use of fluoride mouthwash after meals and never immediately after brushing.
  • Cean in between your teeth with an interental brush or floss.

There is of course no reason why you can’t use an environmentally friendly toothbrush which can be disposed of naturally. The only thing we would say is to ensure that the bristles are not too abrasive as they may cause damage to your gums.

Getting rid of dental pain the natural way

The most important point to remember is that if you’re in pain there is going to be an underlying cause. You may have a crack in your tooth, you may have erosion causing the more sensitive dentine to be exposed or you may have dental disease. We can therefore only recommend temporary relief whilst you are waiting to see your dentist.

Natural remedies for pain relief include

  • An ice pack or cold compress applied to your cheek. This can constrict the blood vessels and dumb down the nerve endings resulting in a mild numbing effect.
  • Rubbing clove oil onto the affected site. So long as you have no open wounds in your mouth then clove oil has been shown to be antiseptic and also provide a mild knowing effect. Simply dab a cotton ball into the clove oil and rub on the affected part.
  • Teabags. Cold used teabags contain tannin, tannin has been shown to help reduce blood flow if you have an open wound in your mouth.

Natural remedies for toothache.

If you have toothache it’s important to know what the cause is, simply using natural home remedies may reduce the pain in the short term but if the cause isn’t treated then the pain can come back worse than it did before.

Common causes of toothache include:

  • A dental cavity. If this is deep then the underlying nerve can sense feelings of hot and cold and cause pain.
  • Gum disease. The information from the gum disease can cause pain around the tooth margin. Anti-inflammatory treatments work well here.
  • Tooth abscess. This is an infection in the root of the tooth and pain can often be severe.
  • Cracked tooth. If the tooth is cracked then as you eat it can flex causing sudden pain which is not there usually.
  • Tooth erosion. Erosion of the tooth, particularly around the gum line can cause pain and sensitivity.

Natural remedies are therefore only good for removing pain in the short term, you will need to visit a dentist to find out what the cause of the pain is and ensure it is treated to prevent further painful episodes.

Natural treatments, solutions and remedies to take can include:

  1. Rinsing with salt water. This can help loosen food particles as well as the salt being a natural disinfectant. Salt water can also help in the reduction of inflammation and promote faster healing to any wounds in your mouth.
  2. Cold compress. This is particularly good if you have an injury or the toothache is caused by trauma. A cold compress will constrict the blood vessels which tends to make the pain feel less severe. It can also wok well to reduce swelling which exacerbates to take pain. The cold compressed should be applied over the area of pain against your cheek (on the outside of your mouth). Use a bag of frozen peas or crushed ice, moulded to the shape of your face and wrap in a soft tea towel to prevent the ice from touching your skin.
  3. Clove oil. Clove oil has been used in dentistry for many years in the form of eugenol. This is a natural antiseptic and can help to take. You should apply the clove oil using a cotton wall bud onto the area which is causing the pain in your mouth. If the taste is too strong you may wish to dilute it with some vegetable oil.
  4. Use tea bags. Teabags, particularly peppermint tea it seems can often reduce pain. Regular tea contains tannin which has been shown to reduce bleeding which may also be of use. Allow the teabag to cool but still be warm then place the teabag over the tooth which is causing the pain.

Finding an holistic dentist

The best way to find and holistic dentist near you is to search on Google, once you have found a few dental practices then check out their website. Look for their environmental policies on their about us page, check to see if they use amalgam and ask about their ethical standards. Everything should be transparent and on their website for you to view.

Natureza Dental Practice is an holistic dentist in Croydon, Surrey. “Natureza” means ‘nature’ or ‘environment’ in Portuguese, Portugal which is where the owners of the practice originate. They therefore named their practice after their philosophy of being a holistic and natural dentist.


Amalgam fillings, everything you need to know.

Many people know us as a mercury free dental practice, we get asked many times about amalgam fillings and their use within dentistry, we thought the best way to go through many of these things is to create a blog post.

What is an amalgam filling?

A filling is simply your dentist replacing decayed tooth structure with a new material. In days gone by the best material to use to replace this decayed structure was amalgam.

Amalgam consists of silver, tin, copper and approximately 50% by weight of mercury.

Why are dentists still using mercury in fillings?

As a simple to use, manageable, malleable and long-lasting filling material amalgam fits all of the criteria. However, in our opinion, with more health conscious individuals it does not fit the criteria of being the healthiest option for a patient, the dentist or the environment.

How safe is a dental amalgam?

A dental filling releases low levels of mercury, particularly during removal. The information on this website is available to help you understand the potential toxicity or safety of dental amalgam fillings.

The UK Department of Health advises all dentists not to remove or replace amalgam fillings in pregnant women.

Here you can find several documents that can be accessed directly by clicking on the buttons and research articles that you can find online.

How difficult is it to have mercury dental fillings removed?

The actual technique of getting amalgam fillings removed is quite simple, however the safe and holistic way to remove them is to use extensive suction, filters and special burs.

Can an amalgam filling be replaced?

Yes, however it is best removed under very tight control procedures, including, but not limited to:

  1. High-quality ventilation during the removal procedure.
  2. Filters in place to cover your nose and eyes to protect you from daybreak and mercury vapours.
  3. Rubber dam* in place around the tooth to ensure we catch any daybreak and stop it going into your mouth.
  4. High-volume suction to ensure that the mercury vapour is kept to a minimum.
  5. Safe storage of anything which goes into the dental suction chamber.
  6. Continuous water irrigation to keep your feeling cool as it has been shown that more vapour is released with heat.
  7. Specially designed burs which efficiently remove the amalgam was keeping the heat low.

*This is controversial for some people as they believe that the amalgam vapour built up behind the rubber dam, however studies have also shown that treatment with a rubber dam reduces the overall exposure to amalgam during the whole procedure

Why is mercury in dental amalgams?

Mercury was historically used in dental amalgams as it was very pliable at low temperatures meaning that the metal did not need to be heated in order to be placed into the dental cavity, you can imagine how painful it might be having molten metal poured in!

Should I get my silver fillings removed?

The general advice is that if your silver amalgam fillings are working well, not breaking down and the tooth structure around them is sound then leave them as they are. If, however the fillings are beginning to break down then they could either be removed and replaced or, if the breakdown is severe, a dental crown placed over the top.

Why don’t dentists make a silver filling that has no mercury?

Indeed there are many materials which have no mercury including:

  1. Dental composite.
  2. Gold.
  3. Ceramic.

Composite tends to be the cheapest option, is most aesthetic and is amongst one of the easiest materials for the dentist to use. In dental terms it is a relatively modern material which is why amalgam was used historically.

Gold fillings and ceramic inlays have also been used in latter years, gold is falling out of favour due to its cost but ceramic inlays are still used frequently.

Are Composite Resin fillings better than Amalgam fillings?

As with many questions, it depends on who you ask. In our opinion composite resin fillings are indeed better than amalgam fillings for the following reasons:

  • They look better and blend in with the natural teeth.
  • They are simple and easy to repair if they break. Composite can be treated so that it bonds to itself, this means a dentist can easily add more if some chips off.
  • They bond to the tooth structure, this means that your dentist may not need to remove additional tooth structure (After removing the tooth decay) in order to create an undercut that the amalgam would sit in. Composite resin fillings are therefore less destructive on the whole.
  • In very small quantities composite resins can also release fluoride which have a positive effect on the re-mineralisation of your enamel as it is attacked throughout the day.

There has however been research which shows that amalgam has a slightly lower wear rate compared to composite, this could mean that in time composite fillings may need to be replaced more frequently as they wear. In our opinion this slight disadvantage is far outweighed by all of the other advantages of composite resin.

Do holistic dentists help people get healthier? If so, how?

All dentistry can be considered holistic. Links have been found between dental disease and heart disease, diabetes and even erectile dysfunction. The same bacteria has been found in heart disease as is present in those people with gingivitis. The same is true for many other conditions. Looking after your mouth is a very good holistic way to begin looking after your whole body.

What is the best type of dental filling?

What is the best type of dental filling?

As with many things in dentistry and in life the real answer to this question is, it depends. The best type of dental filling depends upon:

  1. The clinical situation.
  2. Your views about the different materials.
  3. Your budget.

In some instances your dentist will prefer to design a dental filling to protect any remaining tooth structure. If this is the case they may turn of filling into what is known as an overlay. An overlay covers any remaining tooth cusps and can protect them from the bite.

Very often this type of dental filling/overlay is made out of porcelain.

Because porcelain is made by a dental technician they can be more expensive than other types of dental filling.

Gold fillings can also be made, once again these are made by a dental technician so have increased cost which added to the cost of the gold can make them quite an expensive alternative.

Composite resin can also be used. These type of composite fillings Are what are known as white fillings. Tooth colored composite fillings are also often used if you want old amalgam fillings replaced. 

Amalgam fillings are not used as much as they used to be. This type of filling material is often associated with mercury poisoning and general health problems. For this reason amalgam fillings are often replaced. There is much written about the science behind amalgam filling replacement, However even the American Dental Association still recommend the use of amalgam.

Glass ionomer can also be used as a white filling, this type of filling material will release fluoride slowly.

Common questions asked about dental fillings.

What is the difference between root canal and teeth filling?

Very simply a dental filling is only in the enamel and dentine of your tooth. The dentist will remove any decayed area and replace it with the dental filling. Root canal is when the nerve of the tooth is removed, this is a much more involved procedure and is often done by a specialist known as and endodontic.

Is it possible to develop a cavity under a filling?

Yes. Good oral health is key to preventing this although fillings, inlays or onlays can leak over the years allowing bacteria and therefore decay to take hold. Unfortunately there is often nothing that can be done about this and the filling simply needs to be replaced. You may find you have the early warning signs of this if you have sudden onset of tooth sensitivity in an area where you have a dental filling.

Can you eat with a temporary filling?

Yes. We do however recommend sticking to food which is not too sticky or chewy. If the temporary filling is towards the front of your mouth then you may also want to avoid food which can sustain for example curry, red wine or lots of tea. The composite material does have a tendency to stain.

How long does it take a dental filling to harden?

Most tooth colored fillings are cured using a high-intensity light in the dental practice, this ensures they have a primary hardening immediately. They do however continue to harden for a little while after although the bulk of this is done within 10 min.

What do fillings on front teeth look like?

A good filling on a front teeth will not look like a filling at all! A good dental filling will blend in so that you don’t even know it exists. This of course will only happen with a tooth coloured filling.

Is a dental filling a very painful process?

No. You will always have a local anaesthetic to numb the area. Also it is recommended that you ask your dentist for a topical anaesthetic first. A topical anaesthetic gel, applied on the end of a little cotton will bud will numb your gum, will numb the area prior to having a dental injection. This means that you can have the injection with no sensation or feeling at all. This should ensure that the whole dental filling procedure is relatively pain-free.

You may experience some mild discomfort as the truth numbness wears off, particularly around where the dental injection was given. This however should be mild discomfort at worst and will clear up after a couple of days

Can a permanent tooth filling stay for a lifetime?

Yes it is possible for tooth filling to last a lifetime however it is not usual. composite fillings tend to last 7 to 10 years whilst metal fillings tend to last 8 to 10 years although they can last up to 20 years. The most common reason that are filling needs to be replaced is due to decay which has managed to creep in around the edge of the filling where it meets the tooth. This can happen with any type of filling regardless of the material.

Are Composite Resin fillings better than Amalgam fillings?

Composite fillings don’t last quite as long as amalgam fillings generally however they are more aesthetic, more biocompatible and for this reason generally more accepted by patients.

Mercury Fillings

With a mercury filling in place

Mercury Filling After

After the mercury filling has been removed and replaced with a composite filling

Do amalgam fillings leak mercury

Amalgam fillings do not generally leak mercury once they are fitted. The critical times for mercury to escape from a filling is whilst the filling is being placed or especially during removal. This is why dental practice which specialises in amalgam filling removal will always use specialist equipment to ensure that any free mercury vapour is extracted away with a dedicated protocol for Mercury replacement.

Tooth extraction – your questions answered

Tooth extraction – your questions answeredTooth extraction-your questions answered

So many people have many questions about tooth extractions, in this blog post we seek to answer some of those most common concerns.

Is it safe to exercise after tooth extraction? Why or why not?

After you have had a tooth extracted it’s best to avoid strenuous exercise for at least 24 hours. After you have had a tooth extracted it will naturally bleed, this bleeding is controlled by your body via a blood clot. If you exercise rigourously then you will increase your heart rate and blood pressure, this could dislodge the blood clot which could start the bleeding again. You may then find you need to wait awhile before exercising in order to stop the bleeding.

How long does it take to heal after a tooth extraction?

You should find that bleeding stops quite quickly, typically within a few hours. The healing process has begun!

You will find it takes a few months for the wounds to heal over completely, however you should notice that any discomfort is gone within a week or so.

Is it okay if I leave food in my tooth extraction hole?

No. We recommend avoiding chewing food for 24 hours after a tooth extraction in order to avoid this. Stick to more liquid diets such as soup for this period. After 24 hours it is usually safe to rinse your mouth out with mouthwash to dislodge any food which is caught in the extraction hole.

Once the extraction site starts to heal you can gently brush the area with a soft toothbrush in order to remove food from the hole. If you leave food here it will begin to decay which could lead to gum disease, not to mention smelly breath!

How soon after a tooth extraction can a bridge be placed?

Your dentist will usually want to wait about six months after the tooth has been extracted before placing a bridge. This is to give the socket full time to heal. When you have a tooth removed there is a hole, what happens is that the bone surrounding the hole falls in to fill it. This can result in an overall loss of bone height in this area.

If bridges are placed to early this bone loss process may not have finished, the result is that the bridge can touch the gum when it is placed but as the resorption process continues the gum will tend to move away from the underside of the bridge creating a gap.

This is one reason why many dentists prefer dental implants as these can be placed into the hole where the tooth was and prevent this bone resorption.

Is it OK to eat spicy food after a tooth extraction?

Whether the food is spicy or not will make no difference at all. We do however recommend that you stick to a more liquid and soft diet for at least 24 hours after a tooth has been extracted, this gives very blood clot time to form.

Can you drink after a tooth extraction?

Yes, but we recommend avoiding rinsing out or spitting forcefully for at least 24 hours. Try not to swill the drink around your mouth and just drink carefully. After 24 hours a salt water mouthwash gently swilled around your mouth can help.

How painful is it to have a tooth extraction?

Your dentist will always give you a local anaesthetic for the tooth extraction, this means the actual process is virtually painless. As the anaesthetic wears off you may find some discomfort which can usually be eased with over-the-counter painkillers.

If the pain continues you should go back to your dentist as they may be able to offer you stronger options.

If you have pain Immediately after teeth extraction and once the local anesthetic has worn off you may find that an ice pack held against the outside of your cheek can help to reduce any existing pain.

Can you get dry socket with stitches? How can it be prevented?

A dry socket happens when there is partial or complete loss of the blood clot. The blood clot helps to protect the underlying bone and nerves from the oral environment, so losing the blog clot exposes them and can be extremely painful.

To prevent a dry socket it’s best to avoid anything which could dislodge the blood clot, this includes excessive exercise, rinsing your mouth out and spitting, eating solid foods… These should all be avoided for at least 24 hours.

Why have I still got pain weeks after tooth extraction?

If you still have pain many weeks after the tooth has been extracted they could be a variety of causes. If the pain is severe you could have a dry socket, you may also have a sequestra, this is a small tooth or bone fragment which has been left behind in the socket. The body will naturally expel the sequestra but it can feel rather painful. If you can see small bony pieces in the socket then please visit your dentist again.

What could a throbbing pain after tooth extraction mean?

You would normally find that pain or discomfort after a tooth extraction is described as throbbing. The throbbing is actually the beat of your heart which you are more able to notice through the extraction site. Over the counter painkillers should take care of this and the pain should begin to ease after 24 hours.

What’s the difference between a surgical extraction and simple extraction?

Simple extractions are when a regular tooth sticks out from the gum, a surgical extraction is more complex as the tooth is usually still underneath the gum and not exposed. This requires a level of surgical exposure i.e. the removal of the gum and/or the bone. These types of extraction can be performed by either a dentist or oral surgeon.

Emergency dentist – FAQs

“I need to find an emergency dentist near me, can you help?”

Emergency dentistry

Before we go into the details of what constitutes a dental emergency and whether you need an emergency dentist or not, it’s worth noting that we offer an out of hours dentist up until 7 PM Monday to Thursday and all 9am – 4pm on Saturday. If you have a dental emergency outside of these hours please call the practice and our answerphone will have instructions of what to do.


What to do in a dental emergency

A dental emergency will either have extreme pain or blood loss around the tooth and/or gum.

  • If you have severe dental pain then this can be considered an emergency.
  • If you have knocked or banged a tooth and either the tooth is checked and bleeding itself or there is excessive bleeding around the tooth then this is a dental emergency.
  • If you have knocked a tooth out (avulsed) a tooth then this is a dental emergency.

If you have simply chipped the tooth and there is not severe pain and/or bleeding from within the tooth or around the tooth then this would not be normally considered a dental emergency.

Losing a crown, veneer or other dental restoration is also not considered a dental emergency unless there is severe pain associated.

Gum bleeding around one tooth

If your gum is bleeding around the tooth it can be for a couple of reasons:

  1. Your dental health is compromised which means the gums are particularly sensitive, puffy, red and bleed easily.
  2. You have had some form of trauma which has caused bleeding.

Poor dental health causing bleeding

Poor dental health can cause your gums to bleed due to the buildup of tartar around your teeth. Your teeth have a sticky layer (plaque) which forms over the teeth, this layer is rich in bacteria. The bacteria feed on sugar in your diet and as they do they excrete acid, it is this acid which attacks your teeth causing decay. If you do not remove the plaque from your teeth at least twice per day then it can form into hard areas, in particular in between your teeth.

As it forms into these hard areas (tartar) it can irritate the gum and it is this irritation which causes the gums to become inflamed, red, puffy and ultimately bleed upon light contact.

This is not a dental emergency and the only way to resolve it is to improve your oral health by visiting your dentist and dental hygienist.

Bleeding around the tooth caused by trauma

This can be considered a dental emergency. If your tooth is still in place and has not been knocked out, rinse your mouth out with warm water to dislodge and clear away any broken sections of the tooth (warm water is far kinder to your teeth if they are sensitive). If there is pain then use a cold compress on the cheek, you may also find that over-the-counter painkillers can help.

Mild bleeding around the tooth will usually stop quite quickly on its own. If it doesn’t then use some clean gauze to apply pressure to the bleeding area.

If the bleeding is excessive or does not stop then either call your emergency dentist in Croydon or visit your local accident and emergency.

Bleeding after tooth extraction

The heaviest bleeding usually occurs in the first couple of hours after a tooth extraction, however bleeding usually stops much quicker than this. Everyone is different and everyone takes a different time to stop bleeding. You might find you need to keep gauze over the extraction site for up to 5 hours to ensure the bleeding has stopped completely.

Biting gently on the gauze will ensure you have adequate pressure to stop the bleeding.

It’s important not to rinse away any blood clot which has formed, we therefore recommend not rinsing your mouth out for 24 hours in order to ensure the bleeding has completely stopped.

Sometimes people find that using a teabag instead of gauze can help, this is because the tannic acid in the teabag helps to form a clot by constricting bleeding vessels.

blood clot after tooth extraction

Unless you have a medical condition or are taking drugs to prevent clotting (always remember to tell your dentist if this is the case prior to any extraction) then the blood clot will begin to form immediately after the extraction.

In rare cases a dry sockets can form, this is where the blood clot is lost and exposes underlying nerves which can be exceptionally painful. If you look into the socket, rather than seeing a dark red clot you will probably see whitish bone. Other symptoms can include pain which radiates down the side of your jaw and into your ear as well as bad breath or nasty taste in your mouth.

A dry sockets typically appear 2 days after a tooth extraction and can only be treated by a dentist who will apply a special dressing.

If you believe you have a dry sockets then this would be considered a dental emergency and you should visit an emergency dentist.


NHS dental emergency line

There is not unfortunately an NHS dental emergency helpline. In the event of a dental emergency please do not contact your GP, your first port of call should always be to contact your own dentist. If you do not have a dentist you can call the NHS number 111 who may be able to help find an out of hours dental service near you.

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Welcome to our dental advice blog

Welcome to our dental advice blog

Welcome to the new blog of Natureza Dental, so what is it all about?

As many patients of ours in Croydon know, we are passionate about helping the local people improve their dental health and help them understand the connection between their dental health and whole-body health.

Our blog will be published approximately monthly and will go through a variety of issues such as.

  1. How to reduce the risks of oral cancer.
  2. How to spot the early warning signs of oral cancer.
  3. How to reduce stress in normal living and how does this impact our teeth?
  4. What to do if your gums bleed whilst brushing.
  5. What is the link between diabetes and gum disease?
  6. What is the link between heart disease and gum disease?
  7. What is the best diet to protect your teeth?

We will also be taking a walk through the various dental treatments on offer for a range of problems such as:

As you can see, we will be covering a considerable amount of ground with the forthcoming blog posts… But what concerns do you have with your teeth?

We’d love to hear, why not comment below and let us know your own dental concerns and questions, we can then cover that in a future blog post.