Dental Terms Explained By Your Streatham Dentists

Explanations of some dental terminology you may have come across, but not understood.

Considering dental treatmentWhether it is during dental surgery, a check up or reading about it online, patients will inevitably come across words that they don’t understand related to dentistry.

Whilst dentists may use these every working day, for a patient they can be somewhat confusing and, in some cases, may cause some anxiety for something that sounds more serious than it is.

In today’s, and in future blogs, we will take a look at a few of these terms to enable our patients understand a little more about what we mean.

Minimally invasive dentistry

Let’s start with a relatively straightforward one. As you can probably guess, this means that our dentists will endeavour to keep as much of the natural tooth as possible when performing a procedure, something our dentist Samantha Pring is very keen to do. A good example of this is when a filling is needed. Amalgam is the most common filling material used but it does sometimes require more of the tooth to be removed than some other methods as the tooth has to be shaped to hold the filling in place. This is why we prefer to use white dental fillings where we can. These often require less of the tooth to be removed as the material bonds well with the enamel.


This is simply a medical term for teeth grinding. It is thought that this is usually related to stress and can have a major impact on the teeth. From worn enamel that may lead to tooth sensitivity, to broken and shattered teeth, it can be very harmful indeed. Whilst we will do all that we can to help whilst a patient is suffering from this, our real benefit comes once the issue is resolved and we can then look at restoring the teeth with treatments such as a dental crown.


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Does Fear Of Pain Keep You Away From The Dentist?

Streatham dentist, Dr Manisha Patel, offers some helpful advice to anxious patients

Dr Manisha Patel dentistAccording to a recent survey, nearly a quarter of people of working age avoid going to see the dentist because of the fear of possible pain. This is probably not news to many of you reading this, but it does indicate a problem that makes poor oral health, and its associated problems, much more likely.

At the Confidental Clinic in Streatham, we see our fair share of nervous patients, as do most dentists. As the people who are carrying out the procedures, rather than being on the receiving end of it, it could be possible to become blase about this. But the good news is that we don’t and we work very hard to help our patients overcome the problem.

Understanding our patient’s concerns

Along with a fear of flying, dental phobia is one of the most common phobias in the UK, and perhaps also around the rest of the world as well. Whilst we can, if we wish, largely avoid flying, we really shouldn’t avoid receiving dental care. Even if you brush your teeth well at home; without professional supervision and guidance, your teeth and gums will almost certainly suffer.

Few people enjoy pain, so the very idea that a visit to the dentist might result in this understandably deters some nervous patients. Whilst some might force themselves to keep their appointment, others may well cancel or not even arrange one in the first place.

For these patients, we offer the following reassurances.

Will you feel pain?

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When Did You Last See A Dentist?

Returning to the dentist after a long gap can be a concern, but please don’t worry.

A dentist explainsMost people, most of the time, will see a dentist for a check up every six months or so. This is an excellent way of keeping  teeth healthy and restoring any tooth damaged by decay or breakage that has occurred in its early stage. There are some people though who may leave much longer gaps in between visits. There may be many reasons for this. For some people it is anxiety, whilst others might feel that there is nothing wrong with their teeth so why ‘waste’ money.

Inevitably, if we leave a gap that is too long, a dental problem will eventually occur. Even those who claim to have good ‘dental genes’ can still chip or break a tooth by accident. Generally though, it is toothache or perhaps encouragement from others that sees them return to the Confidental Clinic after a long absence.

Feeling guilty or anxious?

Dental phobia is one of the more common obstacles that makes patients avoid even a straightforward check up. This anxiety is only likely to increase when they realise that there is no escaping the need for treatment when they have a bad toothache. The first thing to consider here is that any invasive treatment needed will be performed using a local anaesthetic to minimise any discomfort. If your toothache is particularly bad, then the anaesthetic will provide some immediate relief and, however much you fear having work done on your teeth, take a deep breath and remember that once it is all over, you will be free of the pain that your toothache has been causing.

Hopefully for this category of patient, once the immediate problem has been resolved, they will keep up regular check ups in the realisation that this is the best way to avoid another toothache in the future.

It is surprising how many patients seem to feel guilty for not having been to our Streatham practice for some time. Whilst we do encourage people to have a check up every six months, we are not about to ‘tut’ at you or give you a lecture when you finally do return. Our dental team is not here to moralise but to help you have healthy teeth and gums. When you come to see us after an absence, our only interest is to treat any problems that are present and to help you back on the road to having a healthy mouth once again.

What to expect

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Starting Your Day With A Good Oral Health Routine

Brushing our teeth at bedtime is important, but so is how we start our day!

Teeth flossingMorning-time can feel very different for different people. Some of us rise and get up early, really looking forward to the day ahead, whilst others may crawl very slowly from under the duvet and come round much more slowly than others.

Whichever type of person you are (or even someone in between), how we start the day can have an impact upon our teeth and gums.

With this in mind, our Confidental Clinic dental team have offered a few suggestions below that we think will help you to get off to a good start to the day from an oral health perspective.

Fluid intake

As we sleep, we lose fluids from our body and it makes sense that this needs to be replenished. As we have mentioned before, if our mouths are dry overnight, this increases the risk of gum diseases such as gingivitis and periodontitis. Ideally, we will have been well hydrated before we go to bed but even so, drinking liquid in the morning is important. For many people, tea or coffee is the norm. We also recommend drinking some water as well as this is the most efficient way of rehydrating your body.

One word of caution about drinking in the morning. There are quite a few people who have started to add lemon juice to their water, partly to give it some flavour but also to add some vitamin C and ‘zing’ to the drink. Lemon juice is very acidic though and doing this on a daily basis could cause harm to your teeth through enamel erosion. So if you do add this, please do so in moderation.

Brushing your teeth

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Are You Suitable For Dental Veneers?

Is this transformative cosmetic dentistry treatment the right choice for you?

Considering dental treatmentThere have been a few articles in magazines recently about whether having dental veneers at a young age is a good idea.

These are especially aimed at the Love Island generation who, inspired by the TV programme, seek to have perfect looking teeth.  There is nothing wrong with this aim of course, but it is important to understand the various aspects of having some of these treatments.

People of all ages want to have nicer looking, whiter teeth but there is certainly additional pressure on the younger generation. Whether because of programmes of this type or social media image apps such as Instagram, it is true that more and more younger people are looking to improve the appearance of their teeth.

Whiter teeth

In most instances, when someone comes to our Streatham dental clinic asking us to help them have whiter teeth, we recommend that they start with our home teeth whitening system. We recommend this because it is safe and very effective for a lot of people and requires no dental surgery. It is, you could say, a no risk way of seeing how much more attractive your teeth can be.

This professional whitening treatment can whiten your teeth by several shades, and for many people, that is more than enough. There is still a risk in this though as there are still, unfortunately, some illegal whitening clinics around the country who are prepared to break or at least bend the regulations and use stronger whitening solutions to achieve an even whiter result. The danger in this is that the ingredients used can be extremely harmful if not used correctly. Using one of these outlets could result in painfully sensitive teeth from the damage caused to the enamel.

The next step

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5 Good Reasons To Stop Smoking In The New Year

Our Streatham dental team discuss the damage that cigarettes can do to your health.

Dr Payal Patel of Confidental Clinic Streatham2020 is now here and many of us will already have forgotten about Christmas. With work and daily life back into a routine, some of us may also have already fallen back into habits that we pledged to break as New Year’s resolutions. Amongst these will be people who have started smoking again just a few days after determining to stop.

There is a good reason for this. Nicotine is a highly addictive substance and this can make smoking a very difficult habit to break. Indeed, those who attempt to do so are very likely to experience a number of withdrawal symptoms. It is no surprise then, that so many people fail to quit this habit, but, as dental health professionals, we know that there are a number of good reasons why it is worth battling through the withdrawals and eventually becoming a non smoker.

Below, the Confidental Clinic team look at some of the main benefits in kicking this harmful habit.


With cigarettes now costing over £10 for a packet of twenty, even at this relatively conservative estimate, if you smoked 20 a day for a year, you would have spent £3650 during the year. We all have different tastes but we are sure that everyone can think of something they could spend that sort of money on. For example, a quick look at our dental prices page shows that you could have your teeth whitened and straightened and much more with the money saved by giving up smoking.

Personal hygiene improvement

We probably didn’t notice it as much when a lot more people smoked, but with smokers now being in the minority, it can be very noticeable when you stand near a smoker or sometimes even not that near. The smell of stale cigarette smoke that hangs around on clothing can be very powerful and definitely not very pleasant. Smokers often have bad breath too, both from the smoke and from oral health issues which we will come to shortly.

Stained teeth

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Confidental Clinic – Tips For Oral Health Improvement In The New Year

With 2019 coming to a close, how can you improve your mouth health in 2020?

2 people with lovely smilesChristmas is now just a week away, followed by a short break until the New Year celebrations begin. Despite our focus being on these events, is never too early to start to plan for the new year. This applies as much to your dental care as it does to any New Year resolutions that you might make.

We suspect that some of our patients may neglect their teeth a little over Christmas, but despite all of the distractions, we do advise keeping an eye on this.

Some simple guidance such as avoiding too many sweets and chocolates, not smoking and drinking to excess, along with making sure that you brush and floss well, should help to avoid any serious oral health problems over the holiday period.

At the Confidental Clinic in Streatham, we believe that patients should expect more than just basic oral health levels and below, we offer some advice for you to consider in the year ahead.

How old is your toothbrush?

It may come as a surprise to some patients that toothbrushes are not made to last forever. Despite the fact that some of us may keep the same brush for a year or more, they should be replaced every 3 months, or the same length of time before you replace the head of an electric toothbrush. The reason for this is that as the bristles soften and become worn, they become less effective at removing food and bacteria from the teeth and gum line. When this happens, the increase in bacteria is likely to lead to decay and gum disease.

If you currently use a manual toothbrush, you may wish to think about upgrading to an electric one as these are generally considered to be more effective. Perhaps ask Santa to put one in your stocking!

Do you use dental floss?

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Your Christmas And New Year Dental Quiz

A fun reminder of some important oral health points

A dentist explainsDuring 2019, our team have posted many blogs, focussing on different aspects of your oral health, from basic family dental tips to in depth analysis of treatments such as dental implant placement. We write these blogs so that patients of the Confidental Clinic can be better armed with information about oral care and seek ways to improve their own.

As it’s nearly Christmas, the staff at our Streatham dental clinic thought that this would be a good time to see what you have remembered from our Confidental Clinic blogs. Without further ado, let’s see how well you fare (answers are at the bottom of the page).

  1. Name the orthodontic treatment which allows patients to remove their teeth aligners when they are eating, and whilst cleaning their teeth
  2. Why should a dry mouth be avoided, and name a few ways to help with this
  3. Why are our first teeth so important when they fall out anyway?
  4. What is Pericoronitis?
  5. What is a ‘dry socket’?
  6. Name the main components of both amalgam fillings and tooth coloured fillings
  7. What role does fluoride play in protecting our teeth?
  8. Why is cheese good for our teeth?
  9. Should you brush your teeth as soon as you have finished eating?
  10. What is a ‘diastema’?

Now, check the answers below and see how well you have been reading our blogs – good luck!


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Do Cosmetic Treatments Produce ‘Fake’ Looking Results?

Why cosmetically beneficial procedures can look very natural….

Lady with straight white teethAnybody who uses the internet or takes a daily paper will have, at some time, seen a story about someone whose cosmetic treatment has resulted in an exaggerated, and often unnatural looking result.

While we might find the story funny or scary, depending on the outcome, it may also have the effect of deterring us from having some of these procedures.

At the Confidental Clinic in Streatham, we believe that cosmetic dental procedures can really benefit patients, not only in providing a much improved smile but also as a confidence builder in many cases as well.

Media portrayals

Although most ‘sensationalist’ media stories have probably revolved around facial aesthetic treatments such as Botox, cosmetic dentistry has also had its fair share of stories too. In today’s blog, we are going to take a look at three of the treatments that we provide at our Streatham practice and look at the realities of these treatments, rather than some of the sensationalised media you may have seen.

Teeth whitening

Let us start with our most popular cosmetic dental treatment, the teeth whitening procedure. This is a fast acting and affordable procedure that can whiten teeth by several shades. Anyone who has paid little attention to this treatment may well only be aware of it because of media stories around reality TV, for example some of the contestants on Love Island, whose teeth are very white indeed. This angle isn’t new however, and Australian spin bowler, Shane Warne, also came in for some ‘stick’ when he had a makeover that not only included a fake tan but also some very white teeth indeed!

Both Shane and the Love Island contestants may have done much to bring teeth whitening into the public eye, and some people may be drawn to having teeth this white. It is likely though that an equal, or greater, number of people may have been put off this procedure because of the overly bright results that it produced.

Using our home teeth whitening kit which is specifically designed for you means that you can have whiter teeth to the degree that you want. If you want brilliantly white teeth, providing that it is possible with your teeth (for example, smoker’s teeth will probably not whiten to that extent anyway) you can do so. Most of our patients though, opt for a much more subtle improvement so that the results appear natural. We can adjust your treatment to achieve this aim and if you do find that your teeth are becoming whiter than anticipated, you can simply stop the treatment early.

Dental veneers

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Teeth Whitening For Older Patients

Beautiful white teeth need not be just for the younger generation….

great smiles for older peopleIf you are a regular watcher of TV, you can’t help but have noticed the number of younger people who have really white teeth.

Whilst teeth are often whiter when we are younger, there is little doubt that many of them will have also had their teeth professionally whitened, adding to the natural whiteness of youthful teeth.

With the rise of social media and sites such as Instagram, the teeth whitening procedure has become really popular amongst younger people. Streatham dentist Payal Patel now looks at whether this treatment is as relevant for older patients of the Confidental Clinic.

Why have whiter teeth at all?

Some might say that the answer to this question is ‘vanity’. This is a little harsh though and although most people do want it for aesthetic reasons, many find that it also makes them feel more confident in themselves. This obviously applies at any age and is not exclusive to younger people. It is also a fact that people now still often have a very active social life well into their forties and fifties, and even sixty and well beyond. For this reason, people will want to look their best when they go out and older people are equally as eligible for this as younger people.

It isn’t just age either. Whereas once upon a time, cosmetic dentistry would be most popular with women, it is now increasingly popular with men of all ages as well.

Who needs it most?

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