Author Archives: Brightside Dental

Losing teeth while you sleep?

Losing your teeth while you sleep might sound like the stuff of nightmares, but for lots of people, it’s a very real reality. 

(Not in one night though, don’t worry, there is hope!)

On an almost daily basis, we see patients with worn teeth directly related to clenching or grinding their teeth at night.

 The worst bit?  They have no idea, because there are no symptoms or pain.

The culprit?  “Bruxism”.

Usually known as “teeth grinding”, bruxism is common, and affects people of all ages.

And when it gets chronic, that’s when the problems start, so it’s important to be aware of the issue, and what you can do about it.

So, first up, what causes Bruxism?

1.    Stress and anxiety.  Grinding teeth can be a subconscious response to stressors, and it can happen more regularly when you’re less in control of your mouth (i.e. when you’re asleep).

2.    Dental misalignment.  Irregularities in your tooth alignment or bite can contribute to bruxism, because when your teeth don’t align properly, you’re more likely to excessively grind or clench to find a comfortable position.

3.    Sleep disorders.  If you’ve got sleep apnea or similar, bruxism is more likely.

4.    Lifestyle.  Smoking, excessive alcohol consumption and recreational drug use can all exacerbate bruxism symptoms.

What ARE the symptoms?

Identifying bruxism isn’t straightforward, but the common signs are:

1.    Teeth grinding.  Obviously!

2.    Jaw pain.  If you wake up with soreness or pain in your jaw muscles, particularly if it’s accompanied by tension headaches or earaches, bruxism could well be the culprit.

3.    Tooth sensitivity.  If you’ve got sensitive or painful teeth, especially in the morning, you could be suffering from bruxism.

4.    Worn enamel.  Visible wear and tear on the chewing surfaces of your teeth is another sign.

What could happen if you don’t do anything?

Well, left unchecked, bruxism can cause big problems, including:

1.    Tooth damage. Worn tooth enamel, tooth sensitivity, fractures, or even tooth loss are all possible.

2.    Jaw disorders.  Because bruxism affects the jaw, developing jaw disorders is a possibility, resulting in pain, stiffness and difficulty opening or closing your mouth.

3.    Headaches and facial pain.  Bruxism-related muscle tension can trigger tension headaches, facial pain, and discomfort in your temples or jaw.

4.    Disrupted sleep.  Your sleep can also be disrupted, leading to fatigue and daytime drowsiness. 

Okay, so it needs sorting.  What should I do about bruxism?

First and foremost, come in and see us – there are plenty of things we can recommend, including a mouthguard or splint to protect your teeth from damage.

Where dental alignment is contributing to bruxism, orthodontic treatment or dental adjustments could help to correct bite abnormalities.

In addition, there are other non-dental solutions to try and stop the problem at source, including stress reduction strategies and lifestyle adjustments, and some medications too.

The big takeaway for me?  If you’ve got any concerns about bruxism, or the health of your mouth or teeth, please make an appointment, and we’ll do all we can to help you.

Easter Grinch

So, here we are, at Easter already.

I can’t quite believe how fast the year is going, but the time has come once again for me to do my dentistry duty, and be the one voice of caution during the most chocolately time of the year.

I’m no Easter Grinch, I promise, but hopefully this email will help you navigate the Easter period, while keeping your teeth and mouth in the healthiest place possible.

Quick bit of science…

Before I get onto the advice, let me just briefly explain exactly what happens when we consume sugary foods and drinks:

1.    The sugar reacts with the bacteria in our mouths

2.    This creates acid, which can then attack the enamel on our teeth

3.    As the enamel erodes, this can lead to cavities and tooth decay

4.    The more sugar, the more acid, and the higher the risk of dental problems

Most chocolate is very high in sugar, which means we’ve got to be careful during Easter not to overconsume, and produce more acid as a result.

With that in mind, here are my 4 pointers for getting through Easter safely:

#1 – Not all chocolate is created equal

The main issue with chocolate is the sugar content, so it’s worth bearing that in mind when you’re choosing what to eat.  Dark chocolate has less sugar than both milk and white, plus it contains antioxidants, so it’s a better bet if you’re trying to look after your teeth and your health.

#2 – Everything in moderation

Most of us like to have the occasional treat – the operative word there is occasional. 

Limiting the amount of the sweet things is sensible, but it’s also sensible to be aware of the frequency: if you have chocolate many times over the day, you’re consistently producing acid, and your teeth are constantly under attack.

#3 – Drink water and chew gum

Drinking water doesn’t just keep you hydrated – drinking after eating something sweet will help you wash away residual sugar and acid in your mouth.

Similarly, chewing sugar-free gum can stimulate saliva, which helps to neutralise acid and wash away sugar and food particles.

#4 Last but not least, brush and floss…

Obvious, but critical – brushing and flossing regularly is essential to remove plaque and food particles from your teeth and gums.

However, it’s important you don’t brush for at last 20-30 minutes after eating, otherwise you’re brushing the acid around your teeth.

Right, that’s it from me – I hope this helps you enjoy your Easter sensibly and safely!

Smile of the month – March 2024

Many of our patients come across us online, while searching for a dental solution, and that’s exactly the case with Emma, March’s Smile of the Month.

Emma had attended another dental practice for some time, but unfortunately, she felt her concerns about her teeth had not been listened to.

While she’d been attending a dentist and getting regular checkups to try and keep her general oral health in a good place, she was unhappy with the shape, colour and positions of her teeth, and before turning to Brightside, she wasn’t getting the help, support and advice she needed.

After an initial consultation, we discovered that the cosmetic issues she was experiencing, were in large part caused by tooth wear.

This isn’t unusual – when teeth are not aligned correctly, this can lead to damage and premature ageing of the teeth, which can then cause cosmetic problems.

We discussed all the potential treatment options, and Emma decided to go with:

– Invisalign teeth straightening to improve the positions and alignment of her teeth

– Teeth whitening to brighten her smile

– Composite bonding of the front teeth to rebuild the chipped edges and the inside of the teeth that had become thin

We completed all of the above in just 9 months, and Emma now has the smile she always wanted.

Just as importantly, she also has the confidence that her teeth are protected for the long-term against further wear, and the implications for both her oral health and cosmetic concerns.

Emma was kind enough to answer some questions about what it’s like to be treated at Brightside – click here to watch that now. 

Like Emma, many people find Brightside online, and our internet presence is a large part of our growth – if you haven’t already, we’d be really grateful if you could help us by leaving a review; these really help people like Emma find us:

Write a review for Brightside Dental, N11 2TP | Working Feedback

Thanks in advance!

Teeth whitening – what you need to know

Teeth whitening – it’s been around A LONG time.

And when you read this, you might be thinking a couple of hundred years.

Try a few thousand!

–       Ancient Egyptians tried whitening their teeth using a paste mixed from ground pumice stone, white vinegar and ground oxen hooves

–       The Romans used urine, and the ammonia within it for the same job

–       In the 17th century, it was nitric acid’s turn – you’d go to the barber who’d also attempt to whiten your teeth

–       And in the 19th century, people turned to chlorine.

It goes without saying that we wouldn’t be recommending any of those techniques!

These days peroxide is the whitening agent used by dentists, and it has a long pedigree – dentists first started using it in 1960s as an antiseptic that helped treat gum problems, and they found that when it came into contact with teeth, it made them whiter.

And while peroxide needs to be used carefully (and by a professional), it remains the number one way to safely whiten your teeth, which is why my eyebrows were raised by an alternative being sold on social media, and advertised on My London recently.

This particular solution is apparently “dentist-approved”, costs £25, and makes teeth ‘8 times brighter’.

The line that piqued my interest?  “Dentist-approved”.  Whenever I see this, I’m intrigued to see who the dentist is, and if I know them.

So I went digging, asking the company who has approved the product, and what ingredients are in it.

More than a week later, I’m still waiting, which makes me rather doubtful about that dentist they claim has approved it.

And just as worryingly, I’ve discovered that the main ingredient in the product is a type of acid, which could potentially be harmful and lead to permanent damage of the teeth.

As a consumer, it’s really hard to decide on what products to use and also when there are plenty of positive reviews online, they can look very believable.

But there’s a good reason why , legally, teeth whitening should only be carried out by a dental professional – the stakes are too high to get it wrong. 

If you’re interested in teeth whitening, there’s every chance we can help you, so please chat to us before investing in a ‘dentist approved’, off-the-shelf solution, which could cause bigger problems down the line.

Ketan

Smile of the Month

This month’s Smile of the Month is dear to my heart, as it focuses on a patient we’ve been serving for almost her whole life.

While Samara’s oral health was excellent, she’d grown increasingly unhappy with her smile, with crooked front teeth being the biggest cause of that unhappiness.

Samara came to see me to discuss potential treatment options, and we agreed that the best course of action was to carry out teeth straightening with Invisalign clear aligners.

Invisalign is the most popular teeth straightening choice for our patients and for good reason – the results it can give really are fantastic.

Samara had a busy year coming up, with A-Levels on the horizon, so we did our best to ensure the best result for the least amount of clinic time – only five appointments were needed at the practice, with all the rest of the treatment progress being monitored remotely.

As a model patient, Samara was very compliant when it came to wearing her aligners, which meant that in only six months, the treatment was complete.

Not only does she now have a smile she can feel totally confident in, now that her teeth are straight, they’re protected from unwanted damage and wear for the long-term.

Here’s what Samara had to say about her experience:

Another happy patient!  If you’re unhappy with your smile, or you’d like to take steps to protect your teeth from avoidable long-term wear, hit reply and we’ll be happy to chat through some options with you.

Ketan

My take on the NHS stories

If you’ve been reading the news over the last few weeks, chances are you may have bumped into a story or two about NHS dentistry. 

A couple of patients have mentioned the subject, so I figured it was sensible to drop something out about it.

Essentially, if you haven’t seen it, an “NHS Dental Recovery Plan” has been mooted, with money being made available to incentivise dentists to take on NHS patients who haven’t been to the dentist for more than two years.

The last thing I’m going to do is wade into the politics of this one, but for dentists all over the land, I feel like it needs to be stated: most (if not all) of the money being made available isn’t new money, and – as you’d expect – the money being offered does come with significant strings attached.

The sad reality is that it’s not going to change the game – it won’t suddenly “fix” NHS dentistry. 

It’s my sincere hope that these measures can help those struggling to access dental services, but unfortunately, I can’t see us looking back on this moment as the time when “it all changed”.

The NHS is a wonderful thing, and I’m regularly inspired by those who work in it.

But the fact of the matter is that based on the current situation, for dentistry to thrive in the NHS, it needs either:

1.    Significantly more funding

2.    The system to be changed to a core service to help those with the most dental needs

It’s been two years since we gave up our NHS contract.  We did this with a heavy heart, as we wanted to help as many people as we could, and we had previously tried to do it through the NHS.

In the two years since, we’ve been able to have a much bigger impact, and help far more people with their long term dental health by firstly focussing on prevention and long lasting solutions rather than only dealing with issues as they arise.

I won’t pretend it’s perfect – in an ideal world, I’d love to help everyone for free, but as we all know, that’s not the way the world works. 

As always, we aim to make treatment as affordable as we can, and offer membership plans from just 33p a day – if you’d like to discuss one, please feel free to get in touch.

Yes, we do accept referrals…

A patient came to see me the other day.

And it’s fair to say it’s been a while since he went to the dentist.

Not because he’s scared or nervous, but – like so many of us – life had just got in the way.

He’d been busy with work, he’d started a young family, and of course, the whole pandemic threw a curveball in there too.

What made him finally come in?

Unfortunately, it was a severely broken tooth.

And as much as I’d like to say that we fixed it, the sad truth is that we couldn’t – it’s gone too far to save, and it now needs to be removed; he’ll also need a few other treatments to get his mouth back up to where he wants it to be.

Now, importantly, there’s no judgment or criticism from us – we totally understand the multitude of reasons why you might fall out of the habit of coming to the dentist, and we aren’t going to stand here and shake our heads.

However, this little story does highlight the danger of waiting till something goes really wrong before seeking help.

The reality is that these issues would have been preventable, with regular dental visits, and the overall cost far, far lower.

This patient isn’t alone – over the years we’ve seen countless patients whose issues could have been stopped at source with regular dental and hygienist checkups.

There’s a saying that goes, “Listen to your body when it whispers, so you won’t have to hear it scream”, and it’s definitely applicable to dentistry.

If you know someone that has a little niggle, or a slightly sensitive tooth, do them a favour and give them a nudge: you may help them avoid needing to go through extensive and expensive treatment.

Ketan

Smile of the Month – February

It’s a brand new month, and to kick February off we’ve got an absolutely fantastic Smile of the Month to share with you.

Our lovely patient Nerina first visited Dr Ronit Patel as an emergency new patient.

She had a wobbly bridge on her upper front teeth, which was visible when she smiled, which made her feel self-conscious and anxious.

She wanted to know what her options were, so after a full assessment, including digital screening, X-rays and photographs, we put together a bespoke long-term plan.

First up: stabilisatiron to make Nerina’s mouth healthy.

We removed the old wobbly bridge, and the failing roots that were holding it, and replaced it with a temporary bridge, then implemented dental implants, with the help of Dr Shahrokh Navaee, keeping the temporary bridge in place while the implants healed.

Once the implants were healthy and in situ, we fitted Nerina a new implant retained bridge, and gave her some new cosmetic porcelain crowns to improve the appearance of the teeth next to the bridge.

In addition, we carried out work to repair and improve the structural stability of some of her back teeth, using composite resin white fillings and porcelain onlay restorations.

Throughout the treatment, we’ve kept Nerina in the loop at every stage, and given her options about the best way to move forward, and she’s now in a much better place, having also added in a regular hygienist appointment to help maintain good gum health.

We also have a plan in place to now replace some other missing teeth, so watch this space!

Nerina’s ecstatic about the result – not only is she a lot more confident in her smile, but she’s also got the peace of mind that she has a stable long-term fixed solution to her smile.

If you’re inspired by Nerina’s story, and you’d like to see what’s possible for your smile, just reply to this email, or give us a call on 020 8888 4401.

Ketan

P.S. We asked Nerina what she thought of her treatment – you can catch her response on video by clicking below.

Marching on

Time is marching on – I can’t quite believe we’re nearly in February.

It does feel like an awful lot has happened already this year though – it’s been a busy 2024 so far at Brightside, so I thought I’d share a few of the things we’ve been getting up to.First up, we must congratulate our fantastic hygienist Negar on her 7-year Brightside anniversary. 

If you’ve attended Brightside before, you’ll know that we believe your hygienist appointments are a critical part of maintaining your overall oral health, and Negar has been invaluable in helping our patients do that for a long time – it’s a privilege to have her on the team.

Elsewhere, our dentists Paarth, Minal and Ronit, and our practice manager Elena recently attended a training course, focused on improving clinical and communication skills.

Over many years, we’ve learned just how critical good communication is – in many ways it’s just as important as the dental work – and that’s why we’re always looking for ways to improve in that area.

As members of the MiSmile network, we aim to help as many patients as possible to get the smile they want with Invisalign, and we recently received a gift to commemorate the fact that we placed number 5 in the UK, out of a select 120 dental practices.

Last but by no means least, we all understand the importance of recycling, and we’re also aware that in the dental world, a lot has traditionally been thrown away, when it should be recycled.

 We’re doing our bit to try and fix that, which is why I’m delighted to announce a partnership with Phillips, which allows us to recycle used dental products.  There’s a box located in the practice entrance, which you’re welcome to use and tell family and friends about, even if they aren’t Brightside patients.

Right, that’s all for now – back next week!

Ketan

The complete guide to choosing the right toothpaste

It’s become a bit of a minefield in choosing the best toothpaste for your needs as there are so many different types in the shops. There are four types that you’re likely to come across: cavity fighters, gum guardians, sensitivity soothers, and smile brighteners. We’ll uncover what makes them tick and how they can help you.

What toothpaste does (main functions):

Plaque Control – The Defender of Oral Health

One of the critical roles of toothpaste is in controlling dental plaque. Plaque, a major culprit in tooth decay and gum disease, needs regular removal. We recommend toothpastes with effective plaque-fighting ingredients, like sodium lauryl sulfate and antibacterial agents, to keep your teeth clean and healthy.

Cavity Protection – The Shield for Your Teeth

Fluoride-rich toothpaste is your best friend for preventing cavities. It strengthens tooth enamel and helps reverse early signs of tooth decay. Consistent use of fluoride toothpaste is a cornerstone of preventive dental care, something we strongly advocate for all our patients.

Now, let’s explore the four main types of toothpaste and see how they work their magic.

Cavity Protection Toothpastes

How it works: Your everyday, go to, toothpaste. The secret weapon here is fluoride. It is excellent for those who are prone to cavities and stopping them early in their tracks. Fluoride is fantastic at toughening up your tooth enamel. It’s like giving your teeth a shield to fend off those cavity-causing baddies.

Who It’s For: Anyone who wants to keep their teeth strong and free from cavities can benefit from this toothpaste.

Example Products: Oral B Pro- expert, Colgate Total

Gum (Periodontal) Disease Toothpastes

How It Works: Specialised for combating gum disease, it often has special ingredients like triclosan and stannous fluoride. They have been clinically proven to have an antimicrobial effect. These ingredients target bacteria and reduce gum inflammation which is crucial for maintaining optimal gum health.

Who It’s for: Individuals with a history of gum disease, ongoing gum inflammation, or those looking to proactively protect their gum health can benefit from gum disease protection toothpaste.

Example Products: Corsodyl Toothpaste, Colgate Total Advanced Gum Care

Sensitivity Toothpastes

How It Works: Sensitive teeth can be a real buzzkill, especially when you’re enjoying hot coffee or ice cream. Unleash the sensitivity toothpaste! It has ingredients like potassium nitrate or strontium chloride that block tiny tubes in your teeth, so those bothersome sensations are muted. For them to be effective they need to be used consistently, ideally for a period of 2 weeks for you to really notice its effects.

Who It’s For: If you cringe at the thought of cold drinks, hot foods or even sweet foods (not that we should be having too many of them!!) this toothpaste might save the day for your sensitive teeth.

Example Products: Sensodyne Rapid Relief, Oral B Pro Expert Sensitive, Colgate Sensitive Pro-Relief

Whitening Toothpastes

How It Works: Everyone dreams of a dazzling, white smile. Whitening toothpaste contains mild abrasives and chemical agents that help remove surface stains from teeth. These toothpaste types may also contain hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide, which are mild bleaching agents. However, it’s essential to temper expectations; whitening toothpaste can brighten teeth to some extent (as they remove staining) but won’t provide the dramatic results of professional teeth whitening treatments. Moreover, the regular use of them can lead to sensitivity issues, due to the abrasive agents that are in them wearing away your enamel over time.

Who Benefits: Whitening toothpaste is ideal for individuals looking to maintain or enhance the whiteness of their teeth. It’s suitable for those with mild surface stains but may not be effective for deep-intrinsic discoloration. In addition to this, regular use is not advised.

Example Product: Oral B Desensify Gentle Whitening toothpaste

Picking Your Perfect Toothpaste:

Choosing the right toothpaste is crucial for your dental health. At Brightside Dental, we’re committed to guiding you through this choice. Remember, the best toothpaste is one that caters to your unique oral health needs. Schedule a consultation with us to find your perfect match and keep your smile bright and healthy!

Remember, no matter which toothpaste you choose, how you brush is just as important. Brush gently for at least two minutes, twice a day, and swap out your toothbrush/ toothbrush heads regularly (Click here to read our recent blog about electric toothbrushes). 

In the end, toothpaste isn’t just about keeping your breath fresh; it’s about keeping your smile shining and healthy. So, next time you squeeze a bit of that magical gel onto your toothbrush, know that you’re not just brushing – you’re giving your smile the love and care it deserves.

Dr Paarth Darbar BDS (Hons)