Friday, 15 January 2016

What to look for if your child bangs their tooth

I was at swimming lessons in Coatbridge with my girls the other day when one of the mums asked me to have a look at her daughter's mouth as she'd fallen in the playground and banged her tooth.  

Now, being a dentist this happens quite a lot!  You'll be on a night out and someone will find out you're a dentist and the next thing you'll be standing in the middle of the pub examining someone's wisdom tooth and discussing the merits of sedation!  

Anyway, my friend's daughter had done a lovely job and had a swollen lip and a huge cut across her frenum (the wee attachment you can feel when you stick your tongue up between your front teeth and your top lip).

She's only 5, so was feeling quite sorry for herself, but I was able to reassure her that the cut would heal amazingly quickly.  Her mum, naturally, was more concerned about her teeth, so I had a wee look.  Now bearing in mind her age, she still has her baby teeth.  When I looked, I was looking to see if any of them had obviously been broken or moved.  Fortunately, they hadn't and actually everything looked normal.  

However, what I did say to her mum was to keep an eye on things.  With trauma to teeth,  the nerve in the tooth can sometimes die off.  So what I asked her to keep an eye out for was

  • Any pain in the tooth
  • Any discolouration in the tooth (turning grey)
  • Any swelling or a little bubble forming above the tooth
and I asked her to go to her dentist or speak to me if she saw any of those things.  

Usually if a baby tooth turns grey we would leave it in place until it comes out itself, but pain and swelling are signs of infection and an indication the tooth would need to come out.

My daughter did the same thing on daddy's watch a couple of years ago, and although her front tooth discoloured, theres been no signs of infection and she's due for it to fall out soon.

Trauma to an adult tooth can be an entirely different kettle of fish, but I'll look at that another day.

In the meantime, if your kids traumatise there teeth, or even you for that matter, give us a call at Coatbridge Family Dental Care on 01236 421103.  We'll be more than happy to give you some advice.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Tooth Whitening - The Safest Way

Last week we had a patient who came to see us after having tooth whitening carried out at her beautician.  She was distressed because her teeth and gums had been very sensitive since the treatment and she'd noticed white patches on her gums.
Thankfully we could reassure her that no permanent damage seemed to have been done to her teeth this time, but it highlighted to me that there are still people out there who are carrying out illegal tooth whitening and patients are really suffering. 
Part of my job is to ensure that I do the best for my patients and I just thought I'd take a moment to give you all some advice about the benefits of having your teeth whitened by a dentist.

Its Legal
The law says that tooth whitening is a 'dental procedure' that should only be offered and carried out by qualified dental professionals.  To check your dentist is qualified ask for their GDC number and check on

All dentists and their practices must adhere to strict cross infection and decontamination guidelines. By having your teeth whitened by your dentist you can be confident of the highest standards of cleanliness. Meaning no risk of person-to-person transmission of infections.
Bespoke Treatment for Your Needs
Your dentist can tell you honestly whether tooth whitening will work for you and your teeth. Crowns, veneers and bridges do not whiten with tooth whitening products.  Your dentist can advise you on the best way to achieve a whiter smile when you already have crowns and veneers.

The law says that tooth whitening products containing or releasing more than 0.1% hydrogen peroxide can now only be sold to a registered dental professional.  This means that you can be confident the products your dentist is using will have noticeable and long lasting whitening effect on your teeth.  Tooth whitening products or kits bought over the counter or on the internet do not release enough hydrogen peroxide to have a noticeable effect on your teeth.
You can be confident your dentist will be using tried and tested methods of tooth whitening with good clinical data to back them up. Please be aware of people who are not dentists offering 'peroxide free' tooth whitening treatments, some contain sodium perborate or chlorine dioxide and these can be very harmful. I've even heard of people using swimming pool chlorine to bleach their teeth - scary!
Because your dentist is the only person legally allowed to carry out tooth whitening, they will have insurance to cover this and all your other dental care.  Unfortunately if your whitening treatment is carried out by someone illegally they will have no insurance cover to protect you if they cause any damage to your teeth or gums.
For more information on safe tooth whitening please go to

Please stay safe if you're considering whitening your teeth, and if you have any questions about whitening treatments please call us on 01236 421103, or email

There's also information and patient videos about tooth whitening on our website

Friday, 23 May 2014

Is your child using the right toothpaste?

New advice issued last month, to dentists, by the Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN) has advised that the choice of a child's toothpaste can influence how effectively tooth decay is prevented.

As dentists we've known for a long time that it's important we assess each child as an individual in terms of their risk for dental decay.  This assessment allows us to determine the appropriate toothpaste (with the right level of fluoride) to recommend for a child.

The guidelines recommend that most children up to the age of 18 should be using toothpastes with 1000-1500 parts per million fluoride (ppmF).

Children with increased risk of tooth decay should use toothpaste with higher concentrations, with children up to 10 years recommended 1500ppmF and children from 10-16 years recommended 2800ppmF.

So do you know how much fluoride is in your child's toothpaste and which toothpaste they should be using?

Toothpaste can currently be bought in concentrations from 700ppmF to 1500ppmF, so it's worth checking if your child's toothpaste is up to the job!  All toothpastes have the level of fluoride marked on the box and on the back of the tube like this:

Toothpastes containing 2800ppmF and 5000ppmF are available on prescription.

The SIGN guidelines also stress that parents can play the most important role in helping their children avoid tooth decay by ensuring children routinely brush their teeth effectively.

The other key recommendations are:

  • Children should not rinse after they have brushed their teeth
  • Fluoride varnish should be applied by dentists at least twice a year for all children
  • Children under 3 should have only a smear of toothpaste on their brush

Your role as a parent:
  • Ensure your child brushes twice a day for 2 minutes (doing it for them until they can do it effectively themselves, usually around age 7/8)
  • Ask your dentist/childsmile nurse for guidance on toothbrushing technique and which toothpaste your child should be using
  • Ensure your child attends the dentist as regularly as we advise
  • Set a good example by looking after your own teeth and visiting the dentist regularly.
And remember here at Coatbridge Family Dental Care we are always here to give you advice with toothbrushing and your child's oral health, whether it's over the phone, an appointment with one of our qualified child smile nurses, or a health check with one of our experienced dentists.

Together we can give your children beautiful, healthy , confident smiles.