Frequently Asked Questions
How do I book an appointment?

Please call (01482 643864) or email, or alternatively visit the practice and we will book an appointment convenient for you. We will send you a reminder by text or ring you the day before your appointment. If you need to cancel or change an appointment please give us as much notice as possible, this allows us to offer the time reserved for you to someone else, and helps keep our costs and therefore our prices down.

Will I be charged if I miss or cancel an appointment?

There are no fees charged for any appointments cancelled or changed with at least 24 hours notice. When appointments cancelled with less notice we will do our very best to reschedule the time reserved for you with another patient. If we are unable to do this there may be a cancellation fee. This fee is linked to the fixed running costs of the surgery and the amount of time lost. This fee also applies to any appointments missed or forgotten and is the same for patients belonging to Denplan and Private patients. However we do understand that illnesses and emergencies do occur and we do allow for this. There will be no charge in the event of a genuine emergency. We listen to the circumstances and try to do the fair thing. Cancellations and missed appointments not only have an effect on costs and therefore prices, it also means lots of patients, some in pain, had their treatment delayed.

Do you do orthodontics (tooth straightening)?

Orthodontics is a very specialised branch or dentistry, and we believe to consistently get the best results it needs to be carried out by dentists who only do orthodontics. Orthodontic experts have had many years of extra training and we refer within the local area to these specialist practices. We have absolute confidence in their skills and integrity. They will do the very best treatment for you, in beautiful modern surroundings… and they are really nice people. They really do create simply spectacular smiles! They offer NHS and private treatment for children and private treatment for adults.

What about implants?

Implants are amazing. Providing implants (like orthodontics) is a very specialised and new branch of dentistry. We believe to get the very best results for you it should only be provided by implant experts who have received several years of additional training and who just do implants. In some circumstances we are able to re-store the implant (put the crown on the titanium post) for you once it has been placed. This can sometimes reduce costs for you and save time. We will be able to advise you if this is possible or appropriate.

How can I pay my bill?

You can either pay for your dental care through Denplan via a monthly direct debit or if you prefer to pay as you go for dental treatment you can pay by cash,or most major credit or debit cards. We ask you to pay for your treatment on the day you receive it. We will not normally send invoices, though naturally we will always give you a receipt for your payment.

What guarantees can you offer?

We offer a 12 month standard guarantee on all our fillings, crowns, bridges and dentures. However, on top of this we will always assess each case on its merits, and if we believe an item needs replacing because of something we could have done better, we will redo it free of charge whether it is under guarantee or not. We always try to be fair and reasonable and to treat you the way we would like to be treated ourselves.

Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee root fillings (as even perfect technique does not 100% guarantee a successful outcome), nor can we guarantee treatments that you request against our advice. For example if we advise that the only suitable treatment for a broken tooth is a crown, and you request we do the best filling we can in the circumstances, we will always try to do what you would prefer but we cannot guarantee that filling will last.

How important is flossing?

You already know the answer to this one! Only floss the teeth you want to keep! It doesn’t matter how well you brush your teeth you will not get rid of the plaque (bacteria and food) in between your teeth without using something designed to clean in between. If you don’t clean in between you will get gum disease here. Your gums will bleed, your breath may smell, you will eventually start to lose the bone that supports the teeth. It won’t happen overnight and some people are much more susceptible to the problem than others, but if you can get into good habits and routines and use some tape or tepe brushes every day… then you are well on your way to keeping your teeth and gums healthy for life. You know it makes sense!

I'm really scared of the dentist! How can you help?

Many people feel a bit nervous at the thought of seeing the dentist, particularly a new dentist. Sometimes this fear or phobia is so severe it will stop people coming to see us unless they are in really severe pain. It could be you’ve had bad experiences as a child and the smells and sounds in the surgery bring those memories back, or your fear is very specific and you are really scared of injections or the slow drill. Whatever your problem is we can help!

The first thing to do is make an appointment and tell us you are nervous. You will find us sympathetic and friendly. We are nice and we don’t tell people off! We will listen to you and will do everything we can to help. We use cream to numb your gum before we give injections, we put you in charge so if you ever want us to stop you just wave at us and we stop. We go at your pace and we do treatment in short bursts. You mustn’t feel worried about telling us to stop if you’ve had enough. We play music usually Radio 2, but you are very welcome to bring your own.

Sometimes this is not enough and we will with some patients for more difficult treatments give you Valium tablet to take which can really help you feel a lot more relaxed. We don’t however ‘put you to sleep’ or give ‘gas’. If we find this is the best way for you to receive treatment we will refer you to a specialist centre where they can use general anaesthetic or intravenous sedation. The more you come to see us the more you fear should lessen, and regular dental care can become a normal part of your life. Honestly! For further help and information on Dental Phobias contact the British Dental Health Foundation’s Dental Helpline on 0845 0631188.

If you haven’t been to the dentist in a long time you may be really worried about how much treatment you need. Most of the time it is nowhere near as bad as you imagine. The biggest thing is picking up the phone and making the appointment!

How can I stop bad breath?

Try licking the inside of your wrist and sniff! If it doesn’t smell nice the chances are your breath doesn’t smell nice either.

Bad breath is most commonly caused by the smelly gases produced by the bacteria coating your teeth and gums. Food debris trapped in between the teeth can also start to decompose and cause a very unpleasant odour. So effective and regular tooth brushing and cleaning in between your teeth with dental tape or interdental brushes and cleaning your tongue is crucial to keep your breath fresh. Our dentists and hygienists can help show you the best ways of keeping your mouth really clean.

Strong foods like garlic coffee and onions and smoking of course adds to the problem, as can having a dry mouth caused by certain medical conditions and some prescribed drugs and mouth breathing. Artificial saliva products may help.

Infections in the throat nose lungs or sinuses and diabetes liver or kidney problems may also cause bad breath. If we can’t find a dental cause for your problem we may refer you to your doctor.
Mouthwashes can help. The minty ones will temporarily mask the smell but antibacterial mouthwashes (Purple Listerine, Corsodyl) will help get rid of the bacteria that cause the problem. Chewing sugar fee gum can also help by stimulating saliva flow.

How does smoking affect my mouth?

The nicotine and tar in smoke will stain your teeth, it will cause and accelerate gum disease which may lead to tooth loss, you may get bad breath and it also increases you risk of developing mouth and throat (and obviously lung) cancers. Smoking reduces the blood and oxygen supply to the gums. Quite often this will mean that if you smoke your gums don’t bleed (first warning sign of gum disease), even though they are very unhealthy.

If you are thinking about quitting please go to http://smokefree.nhs.uk/ where you should find lots of information support and advice to help you. In the mean time smokers toothpastes or whitening toothpastes will help remove some stain. The Philips Sonicare electric toothbrush is also effective at reducing stain. Mouthwashes such as the purple coloured Listerine will help mask bad breath and may have some effect on the progress of gum disease. You need to visit us regularly so we can check your mouth for the very earliest signs of mouth cancer which are easy to treat.

What are the signs of mouth cancer?

Mouth cancer can appear in different forms and can affect all parts of the mouth tongue and lips. It can appear as a painless mouth ulcer that does not heal normally. If you ever have a mouth ulcer which does not heal after 3 weeks please come to see us so we can check it out. We do a thorough inspection for mouth cancer at every check up. We can see parts of your mouth that are difficult for you to see yourself.

Mouth cancer is most common in patients over 40 who smoke cigarettes or a pipe and drink alcohol. Mouth cancer kills over 1,700 people in the UK every year. Many of these deaths could be prevented if the cancer is caught early enough.

Why do I need to see a hygienist?

Hygienists are specially trained to thoroughly scale and polish teeth and are expert at teaching you how to look after your teeth and gums at home. To be honest they will often do a better job than most dentists, because they are gum specialists, and because they can spend more time with you finding the best routines tools and techniques to help you keep your mouth plaque free. Some people are more susceptible to gum disease and need more help keeping their mouths healthy. If your dentist has asked you to see one of our hygienists it is because they feel it will make a significant difference to your oral health.

We think hygienists get bad press a lot of the time! We do hear people say “She made my gums bleed and it hurt”. Your gums probably will bleed when you see the hygienist even if they don’t bleed when you brush them normally because your hygienist is cleaning areas you are missing, and aren’t healthy. Your hygienist isn’t damaging your gums she’s identifying areas that need more attention. Ask your hygienist for details. Our hygienists are kind and sympathetic, they really want you to improve your oral health to help you keep your teeth for life.

What should I do if a tooth gets knocked out?

Find the tooth…if it is clean push it gently back into the socket yourself .. Make sure it is the facing the right way! Come and see us ASAP. If it isn’t clean or you are not confident about pushing it back yourself. Put the tooth in either a container of milk or your mouth. Do not swallow it.

Get to see us as soon as you can, ideally within 60 minutes. If you can’t get to us try another dentist or hospital. If you belong to Denplan ring them for help. Take painkillers if you need to. Avoid aspirin as it may encourage further bleeding.

Don’t handle the tooth by the root. It has fragile ligaments which need to be kept intact if it is to be successfully replaced. Don’t try to clean it with disinfectant or water. Don’t let it dry out. Just put it in a container of milk.

Don’t panic! Teeth can and are successfully put back in! We may need to splint the tooth in position and you will almost certainly need further work on it later on.

Baby teeth get knocked out and we don’t usually try to re-implant them and if an adult tooth has not been knocked out in one piece it may not be possible to re-implant it, we will always do everything we can to help.

Are fizzy drinks bad for my teeth? Even sugar free?

Diet coke is better than ‘full fat’ coke because it has no sugar in it and therefore doesn’t cause tooth decay, however all cokes and fizzy drinks contain carbonic acid which mean you are essentially bathing your teeth in a weak acid and this destroys enamel (dental erosion). This causes disfiguring tooth loss and pain and sensitivity. The odd can isn’t a problem but we know lots of people drink up to a litre a day! Not only does the carbonic acid damage your teeth it also damages your bones… so please try to reduce your intake or better still stop it completely. Use a straw and never ’swish’ drinks around your mouth to reduce tooth damage.

We sometimes see children as young as 13 whose permanent front teeth are notched (see picture.. technically called ‘sippers gob’!) where the hole matches in shape the hole in the top of the can! Alcopops and fruit juices can also be damaging. Water, milk and dilute low sugar squashes are the best things to drink. Sometimes the damage can be repaired using tooth coloured fillings bonded to the teeth or in more severe cases using porcelain veneers. Duraphat toothpaste (very high in fluoride) can help prevent further damage.

Are dental x-rays dangerous?

The amount of radiation received from a dental X-ray is extremely small. We have recently invested in new digital radiography technology which reduces the radiation exposure still further. Radiation is present all around us all the time. You get about the same amount of radiation from having two dental X-rays as you do travelling on a flight to Spain. We take your safety and ours very seriously.

We use x rays to take radiographs which give us much more information about your teeth and mouth than we can see just by looking. It can show us decay in between the teeth or under old fillings which if treated early is much easier and less expensive than waiting until the problem becomes obvious . They can show us the position of second teeth and what your wisdom teeth roots are doing. We usually take radio graphs every 2 years.

What should I do if I'm unhappy with my treatment?

We are very proud of the care we provide, and we know that most of our patients most of the time are very happy, but sometimes despite our best efforts we do get it wrong. We promise we will always do whatever we can to put it right. While we won’t say we welcome complaints (because that would be ridiculous!) we do genuinely believe a negative comment gives us an opportunity to improve not only our service, but also our relationship with you. So if you are unhappy please tell us. There are several things you can do. If it is something small, please write on one of the patient comment cards in the waiting rooms and put it in our suggestion box in reception. We look at these regularly and discuss your comments at every staff meeting. It is because of your feedback that we have re-upholstered the waiting room chairs downstairs, increased appointments outside normal working hours and we are continually trying to find magazines to suit everyone!

If it is something clinical please do initially talk to your dentist. They will always do everything they can to resolve problems. If you are uncomfortable discussing things with your dentist for any reason, or if a non-clinical issue cannot be sorted out by our reception team, then please ask to speak to Victoria Innes our Practice Manager. Alternatively you could write or email or telephone. However you communicate with us please be assured we take your feedback very seriously and it will be acted on … Quickly. Please note that we keep strictly to the rules of confidentiality. If you are complaining on behalf of someone else, we have to know that you have their permission to do so, unless they are a child under 16.

In the unlikely event we are unable to resolve your complaint to your satisfaction and you would like to progress it further, please speak to our practice manager who will provide you with written comprehensive information to help you to do this effectively.

I still have a question!

Whether you’re a new patient or with us already, one of experienced team will be glad to answer any further questions you may have. Contact us today and see why so many others are smiling!