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8 interesting questions to ask your dentist

Dentist appointments near me

If you’re looking for a new dentist whether it be for NHS patients, emergency dental care or you simply want to find a dentist in your locality this article should help with some of the top questions that dentists get asked every day.

1. How can I improve the colour of my teeth

Improving the colour of your teeth can help to increase confidence, it’s also one of the few dental treatments which can be entirely elective and undertaken on most people.

The most basic technique is to opt for teeth bleaching, this can only be done on natural teeth and does not work on restoration such as bridges or veneers.

Looking after your teeth at home is also a great way to improve the colour of your teeth, ensuring you brush twice a day with fluoride containing toothpaste and also clean in between your teeth with either a brush or floss. Using mouthwash in between meals will also help. A good oral health care routine like this helps to keep decay and discolouration at bay.

2. How often should I visit the dentist

We recommend visiting the dentist once every six months. This is an ideal time to monitor any progress of decay and catch the early warning signs of gum disease early. Leaving it much longer than this time period means that gum disease and decay could progress to a more serious level by the time you visit a dentist.

3. What can I do at home to keep my teeth healthy

To keep your teeth healthy you should follow this simple daily health care routine:

  1. Brush in the morning for 2 min with a fluoride toothpaste.
  2. Rinse after lunch with a fluoride mouthwash.
  3. Rinse after your evening meal the fluoride mouthwash.
  4. Brush in the evening for 2 min with a fluoride toothpaste.
  5. Clean in between your teeth in the evening using either floss or interdental brushes.

It’s important not to use mouthwash at the same time as brushing, mouthwash typically contained less fluoride toothpaste so you will actually wash off the fluoride if you rinse directly after brushing.

4. Do you have to take x-rays every time I visit

It’s not normally recommended to take x-rays at every dental appointment. Taking x-rays every couple of years should generally be enough for patients with good oral health.

5. Do I have to use a mouthwash everyday?

We recommend that you use a mouthwash everyday after meals and never at the same time as brushing. Rinsing after meals helps to clear away any debris and gives your teeth a little bit more protection in between brushing

6. What is the best way to find an experienced dentist?

We recommend the following techniques to find a good dentist:

  1. Ask your friends and family that have had treatments at the dentist.
  2. Read verified customer reviews, particularly on Facebook and Google.
  3. Asks to see before and after cases of patients that have been seen before.
  4. Find out how many years experience your dentist has.
  5. Ask what additional courses or special interests your dentist has, particularly orthodontics, endodontic, periodontics or restorative dentistry.

7. What are the busiest days of the week for a dental practice

For an emergency dentist you will usually find that Mondays are the busiest day of the week, simply because there have been a couple of days over the weekend where the dental practice hasn’t been open. If you do require urgent dental treatment we recommend calling NHS 111 in the first instance and asking for advice. Many dental practices offer emergency dental services for out of hours emergencies. Particularly an NHS dentist.

8. How do I know if I have a dental emergency?

The following can be considered a dental emergency:

  • Severe pain which does not respond to regular painkillers.
  • Severe bleeding which cannot be stopped.
  • A broken tooth which has bleeding coming from the tooth itself.
  • Tooth which has been knocked out completely.
  • A dental abscess

Things which are not normally considered a dental emergency include things like:

  • minor bleeding which stops of its own accord
  • a tooth which has been knocked, maybe a little loose has not been knocked out completely
  • A dental crown or filling which has come out with out severe pain
  • A broken dental brace


How many different types of braces are there?

What a great question, if you are thinking of straightening crooked teeth there are a variety of different types of brace to choose from, each brace system will have aspects of affordability, clinical suitability and lifestyle choices.

There are primarily 2 different types of brace:

  • Fixed braces.
  • Removable braces.

Fixed braces can be broken down into the following categories:

  • Conventional metal, train track braces.
  • Modern ceramic braces with clear brackets and white wires.
  • Lingual orthodontics with braces on the tongue side of your teeth.

Removable braces can be broken down into the following categories:

  • Inman aligner for rapid orthodontic treatment of the cosmetic front teeth.
  • Clear, invisible or see-through braces such as Invisalign.

Is a retainer the same as braces?

No. After wearing either type of fixed or removable braces you may be required to wear a retainer. A retainer does exactly what the name suggests and retains your teeth in their new position and does not apply any pressure to move your teeth. This is very often in the form of a fixed lower retainer on the tongue side of your lower teeth as well as a removable clear retainer which you wear on your top teeth at night.

Which is the cheapest type of brace?

The Inman aligner is normally the lowest cost type of orthodontic treatment starting from £1500. This is because this type of braces usually only moves the front six teeth into a more cosmetic alignment. Types of movement are limited and if extreme changes are required then a more complex orthodontic system may be preferred. The Inman aligner can also be more visible which sometimes means they are not the preferred option.

Inman aligner Southend

Which type of brace moves teeth the fastest?

The Inman aligner can often achieve results in as little as 8 to 16 weeks. This is because the aligner uses a revolutionary approach to rotating teeth with specially designed springs. You will normally need to have weekly appointments for the first month and then monthly checkups until the treatment is complete.

What is the most invisible type of brace?

The only braces which are truly invisible from the front are lingual orthodontics which are placed on the town side of your teeth. These cannot be seen from the front at all when you smile and are therefore totally invisible. They are not however suitable for everyone and can only be used if there is enough room behind your teeth to fit the braces.

Before lingual orthodontics
After lingual orthodontics

Clear orthodontic aligners, such as Invisalign are also see through and transparent. Whilst not being completely invisible they are virtually imperceptible from a normal talking distance, if you were wearing Invisalign braces most people would never notice.

Almost invisible braces

When would a dentist use ceramic braces?

Orthodontic teeth straightening can often be best accomplished using fixed orthodontics. This gives the dentist the best options to customise the braces to move the teeth in exactly the right way. Many patients nowadays don’t like the look of metal train track braces and so if this level of tooth movement is required then ceramic braces may be an option.

How far should I travel to see a dentist for braces?

Having straight teeth is an investment for the rest of your life so it’s worth finding the best dentist and travelling to see them. Appointments are usually not especially frequent once the braces are fitted and most good dental practices will offer a variety of appointment times making them convenient.

As an example, our dentist in Southend has patients which travel from Rochford (4.2 miles) , Benfleet (7.7 miles), Hadleigh (5.7 miles) and the wider Essex areas to see him. Many dentists are also listed in the dentistry information website in the dentist near me section.

Techniques to straighten crooked teeth – Some of these may surprise you

Very often people wonder how many different ways are there to straightening crooked teeth, in this blog post we will take a look through the various options, including some of them you may not have thought about!

By way of a brief introduction,  which we will expand on, the ways to straighten crooked teeth are as follows:

  • Orthodontics
    • Conventional fixed braces, these can either be metal ceramic.
    • Clear aligners
    • Removable orthodontics
    • Invisible orthodontics, usually on the lingual surface (tongue side) of your teeth
  • Dental bonding
    • The dentist places a small amount of composite resin over the surface of the crooked teeth/tooth to rebuild it into straight alignment
  • Dental veneers
    • These can be very useful to straighten crooked teeth if the teeth also need rebuilding with shape or colour

Let’s look at each of these in more detail.


Most dental practices, including  our Dentist in Southend will offer a range of orthodontic treatments to help you.

Why are there so many different types of braces?

It all comes down to 2 factors:

  1. Offering you choice regarding the speed of treatment, look of the braces and cost.
  2. Clinical indicators which determine which orthodontic brace will work best in any given clinical situation.

Let’s take a quick walk through some of the orthodontic systems available today.


Invisalign orthodontics SouthendInvisalign uses modern 3-D scanning and printing technology to create virtually invisible clear liners. Your dentist plans your entire treatment before it begins and works out  the final position of your teeth. A series of clear liners are then produced. You wear each aligner for two weeks approximately, each aligner moves the teeth a small amount towards their final destination.

Treatment generally takes between one and two years, depending on the severity of your case.

Because Invisalign is virtually clear many people will not know you are having orthodontic treatment making it an excellent option for adults. There are however some more serious clinical situations with teeth that are in particularly difficult places which Invisalign is unable to cope with. Some patients may also prefer more rapid treatment  and opt for a different race system.

Fixed ceramic braces

These are a modern twist on the traditional train track braces worn by so many people in years gone by. Whilst the metal braces are still used occasionally many people prefer these ceramic braces as they have a far better cosmetic appearance. Complex treatments can be undertaken with fixed ceramic braces as they offer your orthodontist complete freedom to use a variety of wires, brackets and techniques to move your teeth.

Inman aligner SouthendInman aligner

This is an orthodontic system developed by an orthodontist in America, he created a new orthodontic appliance which pushes on teeth from two different directions at the same time by using a combination of springs. By pushing into different directions it is possible to straighten rotated and crooked teeth very rapidly.

The Inman aligner also only focuses on the cosmetic front teeth,  because these teeth have smaller routes it is possible to move them much more rapidly them back teeth. This means treatment times with the Inman aligner can be anywhere from 9 to 16 weeks, much faster than any other orthodontic system.

The Inman aligner does however use metal springs and so can sometimes be considered more visible than some of the other orthodontic systems.

Lingual orthodontics SouthendInvisible orthodontics

The only way to truly have invisible orthodontics is to completely hide all of the braces from the fronts of the teeth. Lingual orthodontics does this by placing the brackets and wires on the tongue side of your teeth. To do this the brackets are custom made for each patient  to be as flat and unobtrusive as possible. It does sometimes take patients a little while to get used to lingual orthodontics but they can give great results on a wide range of clinical situations.


Dental bonding

Dental bonding is the same technique the dentists use for in surgery white fillings. Rather than the material being placed in a back tooth to fill the cavity that same composite resin can be used on a front tooth to build any rotated section of the tooth forwards to be completely in line.

Dental bonding like this does need to be maintained and can, in some cases begin to discolour if very strong coloured food and drink is consumed.

It is also often the lowest cost option but would usually only be used on a couple of rotated teeth, rather than many rotated teeth.

Dentall veneersDental veneers

Dental veneers often require reduction of the front surface of the tooth in order to receive the new veneer. Most dentists will prefer to keep as much natural tooth as possible which is why they will often opt for orthodontics to straighten crooked teeth.

Veneers can however be extremely useful if the teeth are particularly dark or have misshapen or missing areas.

The following image shows just how much dental veneers can be used to rebuild teeth, lighting teeth and straighten crooked teeth or at the same time.

Before dental veneersAfter dental veneers

We hope you enjoyed this brief article, please do let us know your comments


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