Agony Uncle

Dr M K Vasant answers the questions that you were afraid to ask.

If you have a specific query about the dental centre, have a look at our FAQs section or contact us and we will be happy to help. If you want general information on a condition or treatment, click here to go to the British Dental Health Foundation's web site where they have over 40 online leaflets.

The colour of my teeth

Q: My teeth have got darker over the years and I am quite embarrassed about them now. I have tried bicarbonate of soda toothpastes, but they are no different. Is there anything I can do?
Will of Streatham

Dr M K Vasant replies:
A: You are in luck Will. Ask your dentist if it is worth trying to bleach your teeth - who knows it may give you a perfect film star smile!

If this does not work, porcelain veneers may be the answer. They are like false nails on your fingers! To see before and after photos for Tooth Whitening and Veneers look here

Flying dentures

Q: I am embarrassed with my lower denture, which has a mind of its own. Sadly, I do not have any teeth or much bone to anchor it to. Is there anything I can do?
Doris of Mitcham

A: In the last decade the science of dental implants has really worked - so much so that dental implants are not only used for securing dentures and replacing missing teeth, but they can also be used for securing silicone ears, other organs and also wigs! Find out more on implants here

Do I smell?

Q: My boyfriend Kevin will not kiss me good night anymore. He says my breath smells because I don't visit the dentist often enough. Can this be true?
Betty of Thornton Heath

A: Well Betty, decayed teeth and unhealthy gums do give off unpleasant odour, strong enough to deter the most amorous man. Get yourself checked out as soon as you can. The dentist will check the mouth out thoroughly for any factors causing these problems. The vast majority of the bad breath is from oral causes. He may recommend you to see a hygienist to get your mouth to scratch and improve your cleaning. Look at our facts on Fresh Breath here

Sporting Dilemma

Q: I play rugby everyday and have noticed a lot of my team mates wearing these colourful guards on their teeth. I have been wearing a cheap one from the sports shop that you mould yourself. Is this just another fashion accessory?
Ted from Norbury

A: Ted, you get what you pay for. The professionally made guards which come in a variety of colours and thicknesses (different for each sport) are very cost effective. They fit much better than DIY ones and protect your teeth from potential fractures. I would strongly recommend it for any contact sport and certainly this is a must for rugby.

Black holes in my teeth

Q: What about the new white fillings, are they any good?
Jossie from Croydon

A: White fillings have come a long way and are getting more and more popular in the wake of mercury (contained in amalgam fillings). However, they are not always suitable, ask your dentist if they will work in your case. They take longer to do and are more expensive than amalgam fillings. See before and after photos here

Bloody apple

Q: A friend confessed to me that he always gets blood on apples when he bites them with his front teeth. Is this bad?
Robert of Norbury

A: Bleeding gums is a sign of early gum inflammation called "gingivitis". Whilst there may be some sinster causes for this condition, more often than not, it is due to a poor brushing technique. You should see your dentist as early as possible. He may recommend a certain mouthwash, and possibly arrange for you to have instructions on proper cleaning.

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