Preventive Dentistry

Diagnostic and Treatment Preventive System

Our Dental Practice has been utilizing the Diagnostic and Treatment Preventive System to help prevent the onset of tooth decay. We have been able to diagnose which patients are most vulnerable to cavities. This advanced technology allows us to provide painless treatment when necessary to prevent tooth decay and related problems.

Cavities are formed when acids from bacteria are able to penetrate the outer tooth surface. Many factors can contribute to cavities, but first and foremost amongst them are the presence of certain bacteria and the quantity and quality of the saliva. You may be surprised to find out that the flow of saliva (secretion rate), and the ability of saliva to buffer against acids formed by the bacteria, can play a major role in helping to prevent decay. You might not be aware that the bacteria that cause cavities can be transferred from person to person by sharing drinks, kissing, etc.

Three simple tests now enable us to determine whether anyone at any age is susceptible to tooth decay. These tests have been researched worldwide by the International Health Care Foundation and found to be extremely effective in identifying which patients are at no or high risk of developing cavities.

If a Patient is found to be at risk for decay, several painless treatment options are available to help prevent decay from occurring. The treatment options include special sealants and varnishes that actually stop the decay process before it begins.

Now that we are moving into a new area of prevention in dentistry, we have been offering diagnostic tests and treatment to all of our patients. For hundreds of years decay has been the number one enemy of dentistry. While we have made tremendous strides in the diagnosis and treatment, we have often had to rely on fillings to stop tooth destruction. We are always very excited about our ability to diagnose and prevent potential cavities. We look forward to talking with you about preventive care at your next visit.

The First Diagnosis Test

Saliva is one of the main factors in cavity prevention. After you eat, there is normally an increased level of saliva present in the mouth due to the stimulation of the salivary glands by the chewing motion during eating.

This is often a positive feature, because saliva has a buffering capacity that neutralizes the acidity in the mouth which helps to prevent cavities. Unfortunately, many people either do not have the quantity of saliva or the buffering capacity necessary to avoid tooth decay.

Cavities occur when bacteria give off acids that penetrate the enamel of the teeth. The flow of the saliva can prevent these bacteria from attaching to teeth. The saliva also has a buffering capacity which is the ability of the saliva to neutralize the acids in the mouth given off by bacteria.

We can test your saliva to evaluate its buffering capacity and secretion rate. This test enables us to determine how effective your saliva will be reducing or eliminating cavities. This simple test is performed by taking a sample of the saliva and evaluating it for buffering capacity.

The greater the saliva secretion and capacity of buffering, the more effective your saliva will be in reducing the harmful effects of bacteria. Once this test is completed, we can tell if you are at risk of developing cavities and offer appropriate treatment.

The Second Diagnostic Test

The second diagnostic test Is based on a bacterium called Streptococcus mutans.

These bacteria are one of the two major micro-organisms that cause tooth decay. Streptococcus mutans will attach to teeth with a bridge formed from sugar you consume. Once they attached to the teeth, they will give off acids that penetrate the tooth enamel, thus forming cavities.

To perform the test, we simply take a sample of saliva from your mouth. the painless test only takes second. Once a sample has been taken, we are able to determine the quantity of streptococcus mutans present in your mouth.

According the International health foundation, the larger the quantity of streptococcus mutans in your mouth, the more susceptible you are to tooth decay.

The Third Diagnostic test

The third Diagnostic test the second diagnostic test Is based on a bacterium called Lactobacillia

Lactobacillia bacteria is the second bacteria in your mouth which responsible for cavities in your mouth

we conduct a test by taking a sample of your saliva from your mouth.

According the Intonation health foundation, the more Lactobacillia in your mouth, the more susceptible you are to tooth decay.

Preventive treatment has been developed to help high risk patients to reduce or eliminate tooth decay

Treatment options:

  1. Brushing /polishing and flossing
  2. Seeing dentist and hygienist
  3. Fissure sealing for kids after the eruption of the first molar
  4. Individual designed treatment

for further information please contact the Surbiton smile centre.

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Dental check-ups can almost always be combined with a visit to our Hygienist to give your teeth a thorough cleaning.

Our Dental Hygienist will scrape along and below the gum line to remove built-up plaque and tartar that can eventually, if left alone, cause gum disease, cavities, bad breath and other associated problems. Finally, our Hygienist will polish and floss your teeth and give you advice for your daily routine of cleaning your teeth.

Sometimes it is necessary for the Hygienist to deep clean your teeth. This might sound like something you should do after you have missed a few visits to the Dentist or eaten a particularly sticky meal. The term ‘deep cleaning’ is actually a specific procedure performed by us to treat gum and periodontal disease. Quite often the procedure does not get completed in one visit. Usually this happens because the patient has not had regular professional cleaning appointments every six months.

Deep Cleaning

At the Surbiton Smile Centre our Hygienist uses an instrument called a probe to measure the area around your teeth to see if you have any pocketing (i.e. the area between the tooth and gum in which bacteria will form). The depth of the gum tissue between the teeth and gums are called pockets when this distance is five millimetres or more. The European Periodontal Association recommends that every adult should receive a periodontal evaluation each year in order to determine whether additional treatment is needed. Measuring pocket depth is just one part of our comprehensive dental evaluation.

According to the National Institute of Dental and Cranio facial Research (NIDCR) the depth for normal healthy pockets is ideally no more than 3 millimetres. If the pockets are greater than 5 millimetres, we might prescribe a deep scaling and root planning appointment with our Hygienist.

Case Study:

In this poor oral hygiene example of a 15-year-old boy you can see that this has led to stains (mould) on his teeth and caused tooth decay.

Deep Cleaning Process

Deep cleaning is also known in dentistry as scaling and root planning. Scaling involves the removal of plaque and tartar from the surface of the teeth and from the pocket area between the teeth and gums. At the Surbiton Smile Centre out Hygienist is able to perform scaling and root planning using either an ultrasonic instrument or a range of manual scaling tools.

The other part of deep cleaning is root planning. Our Hygienist uses a scaling instrument to remove plaque and tartar from the surface of the roots of your teeth. A scaling and root planning procedure requires a minimum of two appointments. A follow-up visit may be necessary to confirm that your gums and teeth are becoming healthier and there is no pocket depth.

Care After Scaling and Root Planning Appointments

Ideally, after a deep cleaning appointment, the bacteria in the pockets of the teeth have been removed and in a few weeks afterwards, the gums should become healthier, especially with a rigorous approach to oral hygiene every day. On some occasions an additional mouth rinse is required. We might prescribe an antibacterial mouthwash, to reduce bacteria in your mouth and help the healing of the gum.

If the deep scaling and 3-month visits to our Hygienist are not enough to reverse the periodontal disease, then we may recommend you have special treatment by Dr Simin Soltani, our Principal Dentist. She has a special interest in Periodontal Treatment.

Case Study:

Poor oral hygiene if not treated can easily lead to periodontitis and tooth decay.

For further information, please refer to the periodontal section of our website.

Bad Breath

If you suffer from foul-smelling breath, it is usually caused by the breakdown of food by odour-causing bacteria. Other culprits could include poor oral hygiene, dry mouth, periodontal disease, diabetes, tobacco use, alcohol, sinus or throat infections, lung infections, abscesses, kidney-liver-gastrointestinal diseases and / or even severe dieting.

Should you have concerns and would like to learn about what is causing your bad breath, then consider making an appointment with us at the Surbiton Smile Centre.

By studying your full medical and dental history along with an oral examination we should be able to identify the cause.

Treatment of Bad Breath

It is important to carry out effective oral hygiene at home twice daily, by tooth brushing using antibacterial toothpaste and regular flossing to remove food debris and dental plaque on and between your teeth.

It is important to include all dental work, paying particular attention to your gum line. What you may not consider is that your tongue surface should also be brushed to remove odour-causing bacteria. A published study reported that tongue and tooth brushing in combination with dental flossing significantly decreased the bleeding of gums as well as reducing bad breath over a two-week period of time. Another clinical study confirmed that brushing twice a day with antibacterial toothpaste and using a toothbrush with a tongue cleaner could eliminate bad breath.

There are several toothbrushes on the market, that allow for both the cleaning of your teeth and your tongue. Our Dental staff at the Surbiton Smile Centre would be happy to recommend suitable products to you.

After brushing your upper and lower teeth with antibacterial toothpaste, you can then place your toothbrush on the surface of your tongue and then move it forwards toward the tip. After you have cleaned that portion of the tongue, rinse the tongue brush off with warm water to remove any odour causing bacteria. Then place the tongue brush onto the next area of your tongue surface and repeat again.

So to recap, the basic strategy is regular daily oral hygiene at home along with professional advice and recommendations discussed with us at the Surbiton Smile Centre. This in turn will lead to a clean, fresh mouth. If you wear dentures, then remember to brush these thoroughly before soaking them at night and before putting them back in.

Tips on Brushing Techniques

You may want to supervise your child until they get the hang of these simple steps:

  • Use a pea-sized dab of fluoride toothpaste. Take care that your child does not swallow the toothpaste.
  • Using a soft-bristled toothbrush, brush the inside surface of each tooth first, where plaque may accumulate the most. Brush gently back and forth.
  • Clean the outer surfaces of each tooth. Angle the brush along the outer gum line. Gently brush back and forth.
  • Brush the chewing surface of each tooth. Gently brush back and forth.
  • Use the tip of the brush to clean behind each front tooth, both top and bottom.
  • And to finish off remember that it is always fun to brush the tongue!

When to Begin Flossing?

Flossing removes food particles and plaque between teeth that brushing misses, you should floss for your child from the age of 4. By the time they reach the age of 8, most children can begin flossing for themselves.

What are Dental Sealants?

Thorough brushing and flossing help to remove food particles and plaque from the smooth surfaces of the teeth, but toothbrushes alone cannot reach all the way into the depressions and grooves to extract all food and plaque. While fluoride helps prevent decay and helps protect all the surfaces of the teeth, Dental Sealants add extra protection for those grooved and pitted areas.

What are Pits and Fissures?

The surfaces of molars are naturally irregular, allowing your tooth surfaces to grind food as you chew. Dentists classify these dips and valleys as pits and fissures. Some people have deeper pits and fissures in their molars than others. In fact, different teeth in the same mouth can have a different pattern of pits and fissures as well. Fissures in one molar can be very deep, for instance, whereas those in the adjacent tooth may be shallower.

Although the rough surfaces of your molars are necessary for them to properly grind food, they are also more likely to collect excess particles that lead to tooth decay. They also provide a surface area on which plaque can build up and calcify. Keep in mind deep fissures are harder to clean, so it is tougher for you to brush out all the lingering food, sugars and developing plaque on these teeth every morning and night.

Thorough brushing is even more difficult for small children, who, according to the American Dental Association, are more likely to get cavities than adults. The first permanent molars arrive at roughly six years of age and are meant to last your whole life. But fissure decay can damage these teeth at such an early age, requiring restoration that, although effective, will possibly reduce the lifespan of the tooth.

How do Dental Sealants Prevent Cavities?

A fissure sealant is a very effective method of protecting molars from decay during childhood. It is designed as a coating to be painted over the teeth and helps to seal in the fissure from elements that would make the fissure worse.

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The key to keeping a bright, healthy smile throughout adulthood is to practice proper oral hygiene. Adults can get cavities, as well as gum disease, that can lead to serious problems. Throughout your adult life, it is important to continue to:

  • Brush twice a day (2 minutes) with a fluoride toothpaste to remove plaque on your teeth that is the main cause of tooth decay.
  • Floss daily to remove plaque from between your teeth and under your gumline, before it can harden into tartar. Once tartar has formed, it can only be removed by a professional cleaning.
  • Limit eating sugary or starchy foods, especially sticky snacks. The more often you snack between meals, the more chances you give the acids in the plaque to attack your tooth enamel.
  • Visit the Surbiton Smile Centre regularly for professional cleaning and check-ups.

Adult Dental Issues

Even if you brush and floss regularly, you may face certain oral health issues as an adult. We can help you meet most of these challenges quite successfully.

  • Gum disease begins as gingivitis, which at this early stage is still reversible. Symptoms of gingivitis include red, swollen or tender gums that tend to bleed when you brush them. If you notice any of these symptoms, see us before serious problems develop. Advanced stages of gum disease may ultimately lead to tooth loss. The health of your gums can also affect your overall health. Recent studies have shown a possible link between periodontitis (a form of gum disease) and other diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease and a possible link to premature births. To prevent gum disease from getting started in the first place, be sure to brush twice a day, floss daily and schedule professional cleanings every six months.
  • Cavities around existing fillings (called recurrent decay) and decay on the root surfaces of the teeth become more common as we age. So, it is vital to brush with a fluoride toothpaste, floss daily and see us regularly.
  • Sensitivity can be an increasing problem as one ages. Your gums naturally recede over time, exposing areas of the tooth that are not protected by enamel. These areas are particularly prone to pain due to cold or hot foods or beverages. In severe cases cold air, as well as sensitivity to sour and sweet drinks and foods, can occur. If you experience sensitivity, try an anti-sensitive toothpaste. If the problem persists, see our Dental team, as the sensitivity may be an indication of a more serious condition, such as a cavity or a cracked or fractured tooth.
  • Crowns are used to strengthen damaged teeth. A crown entirely covers or “caps” a damaged tooth. Besides strengthening a damaged tooth, a crown can be used to improve its appearance, shape or alignment. Implants and bridges are used to replace missing ones. Dental implants replace one or more teeth or are used to attach full or partial dentures. Consult us to see if implants are the right treatment for you. Bridges too, are commonly used to replace one or more missing teeth. They span the space where the teeth are missing. Bridges are cemented to the natural teeth or implants surrounding the empty space.

My Teeth are not looking White

At the Surbiton Smile Centre thorough cleaning by our Dental Hygienist will remove most of the external staining caused by food and tobacco. Using a whitening toothpaste can also help remove these surface stains between visits to us. If the stains have been present for years, you may need to have your teeth professionally whitened to remove the more stubborn external stains.

Internal stains can be bleached, bonded or capped (crowned). While each of these methods is safe and effective, we will recommend which treatment is appropriate for you depending on the state of your teeth and the results that you wish to achieve.

The effect of Diet on Oral Health

In addition to greatly affecting your overall health, proper nutrition is necessary for healthy teeth and gums. Eating a well-balanced diet gives your gum tissues and teeth the important nutrients and minerals they need to stay strong and resist infections, which can contribute to gum disease. In addition, firm, fibrous foods such as fruits and vegetables tend to help clean the teeth and tissues. Soft, sticky foods tend to remain on the grooves and between teeth, producing more plaque.

Each time you consume foods and drinks that contain sugars or starches, the bacteria in plaque produce acids that attack your teeth for 20 minutes or more. To reduce damage to your tooth enamel, limit the number or between meal snacks and drinks. And when you do snack, choose nutritious foods such as cheese, raw vegetables, plain yogurt or fruit.

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Mark Twain is quoting as saying,

Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.

But as you grow older, good oral health care does matter. By understanding the dental risks that come with ageing, you and the dental team at the Surbiton Smile Centre can work together to prevent oral health problems so that you can keep your teeth for a lifetime.

According to some reports, around 75% of adults aged 60+ only have a fraction of their original teeth left. Issues such as severe gum disease, which is common in about 23% of OAPs between the ages of 65 to 74, can contribute to the loss of your natural teeth. Risks for conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes, increase with poor oral health as well.

Typical Conditions for the 55+ age group are:

  • Gum disease: This potentially serious condition occurs when the gum tissues surrounding the teeth become infected due to a build-up of plaque on the teeth and gums. Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease and is recognizable by swollen, red or bleeding gums. Gum disease is a concern for older adults who may not have developed proper oral health care habits earlier in life, although they may also not have had the benefit of such good quality advice when they were younger.
  • Tooth or root decay: Even at an older age, adults can still develop tooth or root decay if gum recession has occurred. It is still important for older adults to effectively clean their gums, their teeth and any exposed root surfaces to remove dental plaque and food debris.
  • Sensitive Teeth: A number of factors can cause tooth sensitivity, including brushing too aggressively with a hard-bristled toothbrush, a worn tooth enamel, and a cracked or fractured tooth.
  • Dry Mouth: This occurs when there is a lack of saliva in the mouth. It is usually caused by medications taken for other medical issues, which can become more prevalent as you get older. The biggest worry associated with dry mouth is tooth and root decay, both of which can lead to tooth loss.
  • Alzheimer’s Disease: Alzheimer’s disease is one form of dementia, where there is a loss of brain function, which gradually gets worse over time affecting thinking, behaviour and memory function. Alzheimer’s sufferers may forget how to brush their teeth or why it is important to do so.It is important for Carers to be patient and help them take care of their teeth.
  • Osteoporosis: Osteoporosis is a common medical issue, which causes bones in the body to become less dense and more likely to fracture. Women who have already gone through the menopause are at the highest risk for developing the disease. When the bone density in the mouth decreases, teeth can become loose. According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), women with osteoporosis are 3 times more likely to lose a tooth than women without osteoporosis. Many people who have osteoporosis are given anti-restorative medications to prevent or treat this condition. However, some of these medications can cause a rare but serious condition called osteonecrosis of the jaw that can cause damage to the jawbone.

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Regular check-ups with the Surbiton Smile Centre can keep you one step ahead of potential dental problems. Combined with routine appointments with our Dental Hygienist, a professional clean will remove the plaque and tartar from your teeth that can lead to periodontal disease. At home, brush your teeth twice a day (2 minutes) with a soft brush. If arthritis limits your ability to do this, ask us about special dental aids that will make brushing easier. Interdental brushes and floss holders are also available if you have difficulty flossing between each tooth every day.

The dentist chair and the bathroom are of course not the only places where oral care can take place. You can attack the dry mouth condition by staying hydrated. Avoid drinks with caffeine, such as coffee and tea. Use artificial saliva products and chew sugarless gum. And talk to us about any medications you are taking that could cause a dry mouth side effect.

Everybody’s mouth will feel dry from time to time. If this feeling is constant, then you may have a problem producing saliva.

The symptoms of dry mouth include:

  • Trouble chewing, swallowing, tasting or speaking
  • A burning feeling in the mouth
  • A dry tongue
  • Mouth sores
  • A dry feeling in the mouth or throat, which may have a sticky sensation
  • Bad breath.
  • Gum irritation
  • Cracked lips
  • Tooth decay has an increased frequency

Here is a list of the common types of medications that may cause dry mouth:

  • Antihistamines
  • Decongestants
  • Pain Killers
  • Diuretics
  • High Blood Pressure Medications
  • Antidepressants

Other types of medications may cause abnormal bleeding, inflamed tissues or ulcers, mouth burning, numbness or tingling, movement disorders and taste alteration. If you experience any of these symptoms, consult us or your GP.

Additionally, other factors may contribute towards dry mouth such as stress, cancer therapy (radiation & chemotherapy), autoimmune disorders, and smoking.

The role played by Nutrition

Proper nutrition means eating a well-balanced diet so that your body can get the nutrients needed for good health and general well-being. If your diet is low in the nutrients your body needs, your mouth may have a more difficult time resisting infection.

A poor diet can lead to gum disease and tooth decay. Foods high in carbohydrates, sugars and starches greatly contribute to the production of plaque acids that attack the tooth enamel. Eventually these acids can cause the tooth enamel to break down, thus forming a cavity.

Unfortunately, foods that contain sugars of any kind can contribute to tooth decay. Almost all foods, including milk and vegetables, contain elements of sugar and are a necessary part of a healthy diet, because many of them also contain important nutrients. To help control the amount of sugar you consume, read food labels and choose foods and beverages that are low in added sugars.

So, remember these tips for a healthy diet:

  • Foods high in sugar are a particularly common cause of tooth decay. Making these foods a treat rather than a basic will help protect your teeth.
  • To maintain a balanced diet, eat a variety of foods from each of the five major food groups.
  • When choosing a snack, go for nutritious foods such as cheese, raw vegetables, plain yogurt or a piece of fruit.

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A custom made sport mouthguard or gum shield is a specially made, rubber-like cover which fits exactly over your teeth and gums, protecting them from damage during sports.

It is important to wear a professionally made sport mouthguard whenever you play sport that involves physical contact ;this includes: cricket, hockey and football – which can cause broken and damaged teeth. Custom-made mouthguard can prevent damage to the jaw, neck and even the brain – helping to prevent the concussion and damage caused by a heavy blow.

Mouthguard are made by taking an accurate impression of your mouth registering the way your jaws bite together to make sure the mouthguard meets properly with your teeth. Surrey mouthguard are made in professional laboratory based on our dentist’s instructions.

The Surrey Custom made Mouthguard come in a range of vibrant colours and can be customised to your country’s flag, to your team’s colours or to display your name.

Depending on your age, your mouthguard might need to be replaced regularly. If you are still growing, the mouthguard may become too tight or loose, and will need to be remade in order to fit the new shape of your mouth.

Adults may not need to have their mouthguard replaced quite so often. But they are like any other form of sports equipment and will suffer from wear and tear. It is recommended that you take your mouthguard along to the dentist when you go for your check-up, so it can be checked.

An effective mouth guard should be comfortable, resist tears, be durable and easy to clean, and should not restrict your breathing or speech.

Dental Emergencies & Safety in Sport

A Dental Emergency is any trauma to the mouth that may cause bleeding and lacerations to the gums, for example a dislodged or fractured tooth, that requires immediate medical attention.

Whether from the result of an accident or biting on a piece of food that is too hard, mouth injuries can cause teeth to become cracked, broken, knocked out or dislodged. It is important to see the Dental team at the Surbiton Smile Centre because if left untreated, a dental emergency can lead to serious complications.

Our Emergency number is: (0) 77 9884 5005

Top Tips to Prevent a Dental Emergency

  • If you are playing any contact sports, then wear a mouth guard: A mouth guard can help protect your teeth from injury and trauma.
  • Avoid hard foods and biscuits: This will help to protect your teeth from injury whilst eating.
  • If you are undergoing orthodontic treatment, then wear a braces mouth guard: Teenagers and adults who wear braces often think they need to sacrifice their favourite sports for straight teeth and an attractive smile, but this need not be the case. A braces mouth guard protects braces as well as your teeth, gums and jaw. Options are available to suit most needs and budgets. The mouth guard can be remodelled as your teeth change position due to the orthodontic treatment. With advice from us, you can find the best solution for you or your child.

Caring for Mouth Guards

Keep in mind bacteria and fungi can gradually colonize used mouth guards, so it is important to clean them after taking them out. Brushing thoroughly with a toothbrush and toothpaste will clean the mouth guard effectively, or you can rinse them with an anti-microbial solution.

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Oral cancer screening here at Surbiton Smile Centre is performed during your routine dental visit. During an oral exam, the Surbiton dentist look over the inside of your mouth to check for red or white patches or mouth sores. They also feel the tissues in your mouth to check for lumps or other abnormalities.

Many people have abnormal sores in their mouths, with the great majority being noncancerous. An oral exam can’t determine which sores are cancerous and which are not. If the dentist finds an unusual sore or abnormality during oral cancer screening, you may go through more diagnostic tests to determine its cause. The only way to definitively determine whether you have oral cancer is to remove some abnormal cells and test them for cancer in a procedure called a biopsy.

Factors that can increase the risk of oral cancer include:

  • Tobacco in cigarettes, cigars, pipes, chewing tobacco and snuff, among others
  • Heavy alcohol use
  • Previous oral cancer diagnosis

We carry out the oral cancer screening for all our patients during each routine dental exam. Ask our Surrey dentist about ways you can reduce your risk of oral cancer, such as quitting smoking and not drinking alcohol.

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The mouth can develop many different types of mouth sores. These maybe painful, perhaps unsightly and may just be due to the fact that you are run down and tired. Some might be the sign of something more serious. If your mouth sore does not disappear within 10 days, you should visit the Surbiton Smile Centre so that we can advise you. If you are aware that you have an infection, then again consult us as soon as possible so that we can avoid complications.

Signs and Symptoms

Burning Mouth: The Burning mouth syndrome is a painful burning sensation that occurs in the mouth, tongue, palate, gums, inside of cheeks and throat areas. It can persist for months or years.

Candidiasis (Thrush):

This is a fungal infection that occurs in the mouth or throat due to an overgrowth of yeast. Symptoms include: white spots inside the mouth or on the tongue, sore throat, difficulty swallowing, and cracking at the corners of the mouth (cheilosis).

Canker Sores:

These sores often develop as small white or yellow centre lesions with a red border. They develop in the mouth on the tongue, inside cheek areas, lips, gum line and throat area. They are not contagious. Canker sores may occur as one sore or several.

Cold Sores (Fever Blisters):

These appear as clusters of red, raised blisters outside the mouth—typically around the lips — although they can develop under the nose or under the chin. They are highly contagious and can break open, which allows the fluid in the blisters to leak out and spread the infection. They typically scab over until they heal.

Leukoplakia:

This is a white or grey area that develops on the tongue, inside of the cheek or on the floor of the mouth. Leukoplakia is not painful or contagious.

Sialadenitis:

This is a bacterial infection that occurs when there is an interruption of salvia flow from the salivary gland to the mouth. The gland is firm and can be painful with swelling of the area. If the infection spreads, you may experience fever, chills and malaise.

Tooth Abscess:

This occurs when there is a bacterial infection in the nerve of the tooth. Symptoms of a tooth abscess include severe toothache with pain, sensitivity to hot and cold beverages or food, fever, and swollen lymph nodes.

Causes for Mouth Sores

Mouth sores can be caused by bacterial, viral or fungal infections, a loose orthodontic wire, a denture that does not fit, or a sharp edge from a broken tooth or filling.

Burning Mouth:

The cause for this is not clearly understood. Some common causes may be: nutritional deficiencies, dry mouth, oral thrush, diabetes, hormonal changes, certain medications, and anxiety or depression.

Candidiasis (Thrush):

This is caused by a fungus and typically develops when the immune system is weakened. Some medications, such as steroid or cancer therapies, may increase the risk of developing this infection. Antibiotics also increase the risk of developing infection because they can alter the normal balance of bacteria in the mouth.

Canker Sores:

In some cases, the exact cause of a canker sore is unknown, but trauma or injury to the mouth or oral soft tissues may be the culprit. Other possible causes are food sensitivities, spicy, salty or acidic foods, vitamin B deficiency, hormonal shifts and stress.

Cold Sores:

These are caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV)-1 and are highly contagious. The initial infection with the virus can be accompanied by cold or flu-like symptoms and can cause painful oral lesions. There is no cure for the herpes virus. Reoccurrence can occur when an individual has a fever, menstruation, fatigue, stress or exposure to the sun.

Leukoplakia:

These can result from irritations that occur from fillings, crowns or ill-fitting dentures. Other causes include tobacco use, HIV/AIDS and the Epstein-Barr virus. Sometimes, leukoplakia is associated with oral cancer, so it’s important to see your dentist, if you notice any of these patches developing. Our dentist may recommend a biopsy if the patch appears suspicious.

Sialadenitis:

This is a bacterial infection of a salivary gland and can be acute, chronic or recurrent. Pus may drain through the salivary gland into the mouth. These infections occur most often in the parotid gland.

Tooth Abscess:

This occurs when bacteria invade the dental pulp, the nerve and blood vessels of the tooth. Bacteria enters the pulp and spreads to the root. The bacterial infection causes pain, bad breath and inflammation. The tight space, within which the inflammation occurs, forces pus into a pocket (abscess) at the tip of the root.

Diagnosis of Mouth Sores

At the Surbiton Smile Centre, we will carefully examine the inside of your mouth, tongue and glands. Although many of these sores and infections may be harmless, some are not, so it is important to talk to us about the problems you are experiencing and feeling in your mouth.

Mouth Sores Prevention:

Regular check-ups will increase the likelihood that suspicious sores and infections in your mouth are found early. In between visits, get to know the signs, and what to do, if you find anything suspicious.

Treatment of Mouth Sores:

Burning Mouth: Medications can be prescribed to alleviate underlying causes of burning mouth syndrome. You can take certain actions to reduce your symptoms by avoiding alcoholic beverages, tobacco use, acidic and spicy foods and beverages, and stress.

Candidiasis (Thrush):

This is treated with a prescription antifungal medication. It is most commonly seen in HIV/AIDS patients, after cancer therapy, organ transplant, diabetes and in denture-wearers.

Canker Sores:

These usually heal without treatment one or two weeks after they break out. However, if they are painful; so over-the-counter topical anaesthetics and antimicrobial mouth rinses may provide temporary relief.

Cold Sores:

Cold sore blisters usually heal by themselves in about one week. Over-the-counter topical anaesthetics can provide some pain relief. We may prescribe antiviral drugs to reduce the healing time for these sores.

Leukoplakia:

Treatment begins with identifying the source of the irritation. Once the irritant is removed, which may mean smoothing a rough tooth surface, repairing a dental appliance or quitting tobacco use, the patches should disappear.

Sialadenitis:

Hydration is the first step in this treatment. Then a course of antibiotics is given to destroy the bacteria. If the infection does not improve, surgery may be needed to open and drain the salivary gland.

Tooth Abscess:

Root Canal Treatment can eliminate the infection and save the tooth. If the tooth cannot be saved, we will extract the tooth and drain the abscess to eliminate the infection. An antibiotic will be prescribed to stop the bacterial infection.

Related Conditions

While most mouth sores and infections can be treated and/or managed effectively, some are more serious and in rare instances could be a sign of oral cancer. Be on the lookout for a white or reddish patch inside the mouth, as well as a lump or thickening of the skin or mouth lining. Other symptoms include tongue pain, loose teeth, jaw pain, difficulty in chewing or swallowing, or even just a sore throat. Oral cancer can occur anywhere in the mouth, including the gums, lips, tongue, roof of the mouth, floor of the mouth and inside lining of the cheeks and the throat.

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Smoking weakens your body’s immune system. This makes it harder to fight off any gum infection. Once you have incurred damage to your gums, smoking will make it harder for your gums to heal.

If you are a smoker then:

  • You have twice the risk of developing gum disease as compared to a nonsmoker.
  • The more cigarettes you smoke or the longer you smoke for, the greater your risk is to develop gum disease.
  • Treatments for gum disease may not work as well when compared to non-smokers.

Tobacco use in any form, whether it be cigarettes, pipes, or cigars raises your risk for gum disease.

How can Gum Disease be Prevented?

You can help avoid gum disease by having good dental habits.

  • Brush your teeth twice a day (2 minutes)
  • Floss once a day to remove plaque.
  • See our Dental Team at the Surbiton Smile Centre for regular check-ups and professional cleanings.
  • If you smoke, give it up.

Smoking & Implant Treatment

To be a smoker is always a risky business when it comes to your health, and it can make replacing teeth with dental implants more complicated, though it has to be said it is not impossible. Smoking though can affect the long-term survival of implants.

Smoking has two main effects on oral health:

  • Firstly, inhaled smoke actually burns the oral tissues producing a keratosis, which is a thickening of the top layer of skin cells. It also blocks off (occludes) and damages the salivary glands, resulting in the dry mouth condition.
  • Secondly, nicotine and its many by-products affect peripheral blood vessels (the superficial ones in the mouth and skin), in essence clamping them down so that there is less blood flow to the areas they supply. This affects both the healing and immune (defence) mechanisms. Mouth dryness also promotes an increased growth of pathogenic (disease-causing) bacteria, which in turn increases both the incidence and severity of periodontal (gum) disease.
  • Further regarding general health, the long-term effects of chronic tobacco use are well known: increased incidence of cardiovascular, metabolic and lung disease, and cancer.

The success of dental implants relies on the special surface properties of titanium, and the ability of the jawbone to join with it, in a process called osseo-integration (“osseo” = bone; “integration” = fusion). Smoking in the immediate post-surgical period after implants are placed will delay the healing process, thereby increasing the chance of infection and an early implant loss.

After an implant has healed, it is fair to say that any implant in the mouth of a smoker will exist in a more dangerous environment as compared to that of a non-smoker.

A history of smoking may be associated with failure to maintain osseo-integration (the joining of the implant to the bone) once it has been established. Also, exposure to smoking promotes bone loss around the implant, especially where there is peri-implantitis (inflammation and infection of the gum and bone to which the implants adjoin), which can lead to a rapid implant loss.

Please note that failing implants are harder to treat and salvage than failing teeth, so regular and careful maintenance is important for implant longevity.

Here are some suggestions to minimize complications and failures if you decide to go ahead with dental implants to replace your missing teeth, at least in regard to smoking:

  • Try to give up smoking completely
  • At least stop smoking for a period of two to one weeks before the implant surgical placement and a further two weeks afterwards.
  • Follow good oral hygiene practices, explained elsewhere on this website
  • See the Dental Team at The Surbiton Smile Centre for regular check-ups and maintenance appointments.
  • We will let you know that you are at an increased risk for implant failure, however small it may be. By understanding all of the risks, benefits and alternatives, we will help you make an informed decision, hopefully one that will improve not just your oral health but your general health as well.

Smoking & Cancer

Smoking is by far the biggest preventable cause of cancer.

Which cancers are caused by smoking?

Chemicals in cigarette smoke enter your blood stream and can then affect the entire body. This is why smoking causes so many diseases, including at least 14 types of cancer, heart disease and various lung diseases. Smoking causes more than 4 in 5 cases of lung cancer. Lung cancer has one of the lowest survival rates of all cancers and is the most common cause of cancer death in the UK.

Smoking also increases the risk of at least 13 other cancers including cancers of the mouth, pharynx (upper throat), nose and sinuses, larynx (voice box), oesophagus (gullet or food pipe), liver, pancreas, stomach, kidney, bowel, ovary, bladder, cervix, and some types of leukaemia. Smoking could increase the risk of breast cancer, but any increase in this risk is likely to be small.

What influences the risk of cancer from smoking?

Smokers have a much higher risk of lung cancer than non-smokers, whatever type of cigarette they smoke. There’s no such thing as a safe way to use tobacco.

Filters and low-tar cigarettes make very little difference. Your lung cancer risk is not lower compared to smokers of non-filtered cigarettes. This may be because smokers tend to change the way they smoke in order to satisfy their nicotine craving, for example by taking bigger puffs or smoking more cigarettes.

The more cigarettes you smoke a day, the higher your risk of cancer is. If you are not able to quit completely, cutting down the number of cigarettes you smoke a day can be a good first step. Even light or social smoking can harm your health, so it is worth trying to stop entirely.

Scientists have found that the number of years you spend smoking affects your cancer risk even more strongly than the number of cigarettes you smoke a day. For example, smoking one pack a day for 40 years is even more dangerous than smoking two packs a day for 20 years.

The serious damaging effects of smoking cannot be cancelled out by leading an otherwise healthy lifestyle, like keeping fit and eating healthily. The best way to reduce your risk is to give up smoking completely.

How does smoking cause cancer?

Smoking damages your DNA, including the key genes that actually protect you against cancer. Many of the chemicals found in cigarettes have been shown to cause DNA damage, including benzene, polonium-210, benzo(a)pyrene and nitrosamines.

If this is already bad news, it is made worse by the other chemicals contained in cigarettes. For example, chromium makes poisons like benzo(a)pyrene stick more strongly to your DNA, increasing the chances of serious damage. Further chemicals like arsenic and nickel interfere with the pathways needed for repairing the damaged DNA. This makes it even more likely that damaged cells will eventually turn cancerous.

Smokers are also less able to handle toxic chemicals than those with healthy lungs and blood. Chemicals in cigarette smoke make it harder for smokers to neutralise or remove toxins and can make their immune systems less effective too.

How long does it take for smoking to cause cancer?

It usually takes many years, or decades, for the DNA damage from smoking to cause cancer. Our bodies are designed to deal with a bit of damage, but it is hard for the body to cope with the number of harmful chemicals in tobacco smoke. Each cigarette can damage DNA in many lung cells, but it is the build-up of damage in the same cell that can lead to cancer. However, research has shown that for every 15 cigarettes smoked there is a DNA change which could cause a cell to become cancerous. This is why it is better to give up smoking sooner rather than later.Read more here.

Smoking and pregnancy

Protecting your baby from tobacco smoke is one of the best things you can do to give your child a healthy start in life. It can be difficult to stop smoking, but it is never too late to quit.

Every cigarette you smoke contains over 4,000 chemicals, so smoking when you are pregnant harms your unborn baby. Cigarettes can restrict the essential oxygen supply to your baby. As a result, their heart has to beat harder every time you smoke.

Stopping smoking will help both you and your baby immediately. Harmful gases, such as carbon monoxide, and other damaging chemicals will clear from your body. When you stop smoking:

  • you will reduce the risk of complications in pregnancy and birth
  • you are more likely to have a healthier pregnancy and a healthier baby
  • you will reduce the risk of a stillbirth
  • your baby is less likely to be born too early and have to face the additional breathing, feeding and health problems that often go with being premature
  • your baby is less likely to be born underweight: babies of women who smoke are, on average, 200g (about 8oz) lighter than other babies, which can cause problems during and after labour. For example, they are more likely to have a problem keeping warm and are more prone to infection
  • you will reduce the risk of cot death, also known as sudden infant death syndrome

Stopping smoking now will also help your baby later in life. Children whose parents smoke are more likely to suffer from asthma and other serious illnesses that may need hospital treatment.

The sooner you stop smoking, the better. But even if you stop in the last few weeks of your pregnancy this will benefit you and your baby.

Second-hand (passive) smoke harms your baby

If your partner or anyone else who lives with you smokes, their smoke can affect you and the baby both before and after birth. You may also find it more difficult to stop if someone around you smokes.

Second-hand smoke can also reduce the baby’s birth weight and increase the risk of cot death. Babies whose parents smoke are more likely to be admitted to hospital for bronchitis and pneumonia during their first year.

To find out more about quitting and to get support, your partner can call NHS Smoke free on 0300 123 1044.

Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT)

You can use NRT during pregnancy if it will help you stop smoking, and you are unable to stop without it. It is not recommended that you take stop smoking tablets such as Champix or Zyban during pregnancy.

NRT contains only nicotine and none of the damaging chemicals found in cigarettes, so it is a much better option than continuing to smoke. It helps you by giving you the nicotine you would have had from a cigarette.

You can be prescribed NRT during pregnancy by your GP or an NHS stop smoking adviser. You can also buy it over the counter without a prescription from a pharmacy.

NRT is available as:

  • patches
  • gum
  • inhalator
  • nasal spray
  • mouth spray
  • oral strips
  • lozenges
  • microtabs

If you have pregnancy-related nausea and vomiting, patches may be a better solution. NRT patches should be used for no more than 16 hours in any 24-hour period. The best way to stick to this is to remove the patch at bedtime. Before using any of these products, speak to your midwife, GP, a pharmacist or a specialist stop smoking adviser. By getting this specialist advice you can be sure that you are doing the best for your baby and best for you.

Liquorice-flavoured nicotine products

Pregnant women are advised to avoid liquorice-flavoured nicotine products. Although there is no known risk with small amounts of liquorice flavouring, the manufacturers advise caution.

This caution is based on information on the adverse effects associated with excessive amounts of liquorice root. As other flavours are available, pregnant women are advised to select an alternative, such as fruit or mint.

E-cigarettes in pregnancy

E-cigarettes allow you to inhale nicotine through a vapour rather than smoke. Cigarettes deliver nicotine along with thousands of harmful chemicals. By itself, nicotine is relatively harmless.

E-cigarettes do not produce tar and carbon monoxide, two of the main toxins in cigarette smoke. Carbon monoxide is particularly harmful to developing babies. The vapour from an e-cigarette does contain some of the potentially harmful chemicals found in cigarette smoke, but at much lower levels.

E-cigarettes are fairly new and there are still some things we do not know. However, current evidence on e-cigarettes indicates they are much less risky than smoking.

If using an e-cigarette helps you to stop smoking, it is much safer for you and your baby than continuing to smoke.

Unlike NRT, such as patches and gum, e-cigarettes are not available on NHS prescription. If you want to use an e-cigarette, you can still get free expert help from a stop smoking adviser. Find out more about using e-cigarettes to stop smoking.

NHS Smoke free helpline 0300 123 1044

The NHS Smokefree helpline is open 9am-8pm Monday to Friday, and 11am-4pm at weekends. The helpline on 0300 123 1044 offers free help, support and advice on stopping smoking, including when you are pregnant, and can give you details of local support services.

You can also sign up to receive ongoing advice and support at a time that suits you.

You can find out more about the effects of smoking in pregnancy, and getting support to quit, on the Smokefree pregnancy and smoking pages.

You can talk to your midwife, health visitor, practice nurse or pharmacist for advice and for details of your nearest NHS Stop Smoking service. They can offer one-to-one or group sessions with trained stop smoking advisers and may even have a pregnancy stop smoking specialist.

They can also offer advice about dealing with stress, weight gain and support the use of nicotine replacement therapy (such as patches or gum), if appropriate, to help you manage your cravings.

Plaque & Tartar

Plaque is a sticky, colourless film of bacteria that constantly forms on your teeth and along the gum line. Plaque contains bacteria that cause cavities and gum disease.

Tartar is calcified or hardened plaque that attaches to the enamel on your teeth and below the gum line.

What are the signs?

Everyone develops plaque because bacteria is a constant entity in our mouths, but it is not easy to see. Plaque that is not removed from around the gum line can cause inflammation and irritation to the gums around your teeth.

On the other hand, tartar is a mineral build-up that is fairly easy to see, if it is above the gum line. The most common sign of tartar is a yellow or brown deposit between the lower front teeth or at the gum line itself.

If tartar is left untreated, it will eventually cause cavities, gum disease and/or bad breath. (Insert link back to Dental Examination section of Website.)

Top 3 Ways to Prevent problems from Plaque& Tartar:

  1. Brush thoroughly at least twice a day for two minutes.
  2. Floss daily.
  3. Schedule at least two regular dental visits for professional cleanings and dental examinations each year.

Are bleeding gums when flossing reason enough to prompt a call to the dentist?

Gums that bleed after daily flossing can be a warning sign of gingivitis, the initial stage of gum disease. Left untreated, gingivitis can progress into the more advanced stages of gum disease, periodontitis and advanced periodontitis. This can result in permanent tissue damage and tooth loss. The earlier this disease is recognized, the more likely it can be treated successfully or even reversed. Regular dental visits can help get your gum health back on track.

Dental Check-ups and Your Gums

Whether or not you notice bleeding gums when flossing, you should still plan on seeing our Dentist at least every six months. Routine visits can help to fight and prevent gum disease for two reasons.

First, an oral examination allows us to determine if you are showing signs of gingivitis or periodontitis and what measures can be taken to improve your oral health.

Secondly, we can remove plaque build-up under your gums and hardened tartar on your teeth by conducting a professional cleaning.

Plaque is the primary cause of gingivitis. The bacteria in plaque can irritate and infect the gum tissue, causing the tenderness and swelling. Getting rid of this sticky substance through daily brushing and flossing and regular professional cleanings can often be enough to treat gingivitis. We may recommend that you come in more than every six months to help manage plaque build-up and monitor your oral health. If your bleeding gums are a sign of advanced periodontitis, we may recommend a nonsurgical treatment such as scaling and root planing. Scaling involves removing plaque and tartar from teeth and from under the gum line. Root planing is a procedure that involves the scaling of the root surface to remove plaque and tartar from it.

Alternative Causes for Bleeding Gums

Gingivitis is not the only possible cause of bleeding gums. A new flossing routine or the use of blood thinning medications can cause this issue as well. If you have just started flossing regularly and you notice some bleeding, then this should clear up in about a week. If you are taking a new medication and notice consistent bleeding when flossing, then you may want to talk to your GP. Some pregnant women experience what is known as pregnancy gingivitis, this is when hormonal changes can cause an increase in sensitivity to plaque bacteria, resulting in gum inflammation. Proper brushing and flossing habits as well as at least one dental appointment while pregnant can help deal with pregnancy gingivitis.

Eight Steps to Maintaining Good Dental Health

Now that you know about brushing and flossingthere are other steps you should take if you want to keep your teeth for a lifetime. Some people assume they will lose their teeth as they age, but that doesnot necessarily have to happen. At the Surbiton Smile Centre, we suggest taking the following steps to keep your teeth and your mouth healthy.

1) Understand your own oral health needs

Your oral health depends on many factors, including your diet, the type and amount of saliva in your mouth, your habits, your overall health and your oral hygiene routine.

Changes in your overall health often result in alterations to your oral health. For example, many medications, including more than 300 common drugs, can reduce the amount of saliva in your mouth, resulting in dry mouth. Women who are pregnant can experience changes to their oral health. This often includes inflammation of the gums, which is called pregnancy gingivitis. Patients who suffer from asthma often breathe through their mouths, particularly when sleeping, which in turn canleadto dry mouth and increased plaque formation and gingivitis.

2) You must commit yourself to a daily oral health routine.

Based on discussions with us, it is imperative for you to come up with an effective oral health routine that is easy to follow and takes your needs into account. For example, if you are taking medication that dries your mouth, you may want to use fluoride every day. Pregnant women, people with underlying health conditions, such as diabetes, and people in orthodontic treatment also may want or require special daily care.

3) Use fluoride contained oral hygiene product

Regardless of your age everyone can benefit from fluoride, not just children. Fluoride strengthens developing teeth in children but actually helps to prevent decay in adults and children as well. Toothpastes and mouthwashes are good sources of fluoride. We can prescribe stronger concentrations of fluoride through gels or rinses if you need it.

4) Brush and floss to remove plaque

Everyone should brush at least twice a day, preferably three times or after every meal. In addition, you should floss at least twice a day. These activities remove plaque, which is a complex mass of bacteria that constantly forms on your teeth. If plaque is not removed every day, it is able to process sugars found in most foods and drinks to form acids that will lead to decay. Bacterial plaque also causes gingivitis and other periodontal diseases. It is important to brush and floss correctly and thoroughly, removing plaque from all tooth surfaces and where the tooth meets the gums. If plaque is not removed, it can lead to gum problems and cavities.

5) Limit snacks, particularly those high in simple sugars, and eat a balanced diet

Every time you eat, particles of food become lodged in and around your teeth, providing fuel for bacteria. The bacteria in the plaque produce acid every time you eat. The more often you eat, the longer food will stay in your mouth, and the more time bacteria will have to break down sugars and produce acids that begin the decay process. Each time you eat food containing sugars or starches (complex sugars), your teeth are exposed to bacterial acids for 20 minutes or more. These repeated acid attacks can break down the enamel surface of your teeth, eventually leading to a cavity. If you must snack, brush your teeth or chew sugarless gum immediately afterwards.

A balanced diet is very important. Deficiencies in minerals and vitamins can also affect your oral health, as well as your general health.

6) If you use tobacco in any form, give it up

Smoking or using smokeless tobacco increases your risk of oral cancer, gingivitis, periodontitis and tooth decay. Using tobacco also contributes to bad breath and stains on your teeth.

7) Examine your mouth regularly

Even if you visit us regularly, you are still the one who is in the best position to notice changes in your mouth. We will see you only a few times a year, but you can examine your mouth weekly to look for changes that might be of concern. These changes could include swollen gums, chipped teeth, discoloured teeth, sores, lesions on your gums, cheeks or tongue. A regular examination is particularly important for tobacco users, who are at an increased risk of developing oral cancer. If you smoke or use smokeless tobacco, we can show you where lesions are most likely to appear.

8) Visit the Surbiton Smile Centre regularly

We will talk about the frequency of your visits. Some people need to visit us more frequently than others.

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What is Sepsis?

A normal mouth will contain a large number of bacteria, many of them are potentially pathogenic. In a healthy patient there is usually no problem as your immune system protects you frommany illnesses and infections. However, it is possible for your immune system to go into hyperdrive in response to an infection. When this happens the chemicals in your immune system release into your bloodstream to fight an infection but cause inflammation throughout the entire body instead. This is known as Sepsis. It is a life-threatening illness. Sever cases of Sepsis can lead to a medical emergency, Septic Shock.

Generally, there are three stages to Sepsis:

  • Sepsis
  • Severe Sepsis
  • Septic Shock

It is vital for you to seek immediate medical attention if you ever have any of the following symptoms. The earlier you seek treatment, the greater your chance of survival is. You must have two of these symptoms before your GP or Dentist can diagnose Sepsis:

  • A fever above 38C or a temperature below 36C
  • A heart rate above 90 beats per minute
  • A breathing rate higher that 20 breaths per minute
  • A probable or confirmed infection. In the case of dentistry this could be triggered by an oral infection

Contact dentist immediately if you have any of the following signs:

  • bad breath
  • hyper-sensitive teeth to hot or cold temperatures
  • constant toothache/pain which comes and goes
  • swollen gums
  • swollen glands
  • bitter taste in the mouth
  • fever
  • pain
  • headaches/sinus pain

Severe Sepsis occurs when there is organ failure. You must have one or more of the following signs to be diagnosed with Severe Sepsis:

  • Patches of discoloured skin
  • Decreased urination
  • Changes in Mental Ability
  • Low Platelet (blood clotting cells) count
  • Problems in breathing
  • Abnormal heart beating
  • Feeling cold due to a fall in body temperature
  • Unconsciousness
  • Suffering from spells of extreme weakness

Symptoms of Septic Shock will include those for Severe Sepsis, combined with very low blood pressure.

The effects of Sepsis

Sepsis if left untreated has the potential to be life-threatening. There is a high rate of recovery in mild cases. So, it is important to be treated as soon as the symptoms are recognised. Caught early, the outcomes are excellent. Left unchecked, the patient is likely to spiral into multi-organ failure, septic shock and death. It is estimated that, every year, sepsis costs the NHS £2 billion and claims the lives of at least 52,000 people in the UK and 6 million people around the world.

A case of having Severe Sepsis will increase the risk of a future infection. Severe Sepsis or Septic Shock can also cause further complications in the form of blood clots throughout the body. These clots will block the flow of blood and oxygen to vital organs and other parts of the body. Thereby increasing the risk of organ failure and gangrene.

What causes Sepsis?

Any infection can trigger Sepsis, but the following types of infections are more likely:

  • Pneumonia
  • Abdominal
  • Kidney
  • Bloodstream (oral)

Who is at risk for Sepsis?

  • Some people have a higher risk than others, but anyone can contract Sepsis. People who have a greater risk include:
  • Young children and OAPs
  • People with weaker immune systems for example due to HIV or Chemotherapy Treatment
  • People being treated in an intensive care unit
  • People exposed to invasive devices, such as intravenous catheters or breathing tubes

Can you recover from Sepsis?

Your recovery from Sepsis depends on the severity of your condition and any pre-existing conditions you might have. Many people who survive will recover completely whilst others report lasting effects. The UK Sepsis Trust reports that it can take up to 18 months before you feel like your normal old self.

Sepsis prevention

By taking steps to prevent the spread of infection you can reduce your risk of developing Sepsis by:

  • Stay up to date with your vaccinations, e.g. flu, and pneumonia
  • Practise good hygiene. To include proper care of wounds, hand washing and bathing regularly

Practise good oral hygiene to include:

  1. Visit your dentist at least twice a year for Hygienist cleaning and Dental check-ups
  2. Understand your own oral hygiene requirements
  3. Examine your teeth regularly will help to prevent dental cavities and tooth decay
  4. Regularly remove the bacteria that live in your mouth, which in turn can stick to your teeth to cause cavities by brushing twice a day (2 minutes) and flossing and using inter-dental brushes once a day
  5. Use a fluoride toothpaste to stop and prevent tooth decay and fillings
  6. Avoid tongue and cheek piercings
  7. Do not put up, for any length of time with an abscess in your mouth, call us immediately
  8. Contact the Surbiton Smile Centre immediately, if you are in pain directly after any form of dental treatment
  9. Take immediate action if you have any damaged tooth, sore or swollen gum, any form of toothache, or restriction in the opening of your mouth as these could be a sign of an infection
  10. Seek immediate care if you develop signs of infection. The sooner you obtain treatment the better the outcome will be.

Emergency examination procedure for Sepsis

At the Surbiton Smile Centre, we will give you a full dental examination followed by the use of X-rays (both small and large areas of the mouth) and a CT-scan if required.

The following aspects of your mouth will be investigated:

  • Teeth
  • Gums
  • TMJ
  • Submandibular Glands

If our Dentist manages to find the problem quickly then a diagnosis will be offered together with the appropriate cause of action/treatment.

In the rare case that our Dentist cannot help you at the Surbiton Smile Centre, then you will be referred immediately to Hospital for a proper in-depth medical investigation.

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