A quick guide to dental implants – and the benefits.

I call them ‘life-enhancing’…

They can dramatically change and improve a patient’s appearance and dental function.

They can play a key role in boosting the smile factor and can also be a major ingredient in a smile makeover.

But how much do you know about dental implants?

In this blog I’ve put together some quick facts about implants to give you an insight into what is now considered a dental phenomenon.
The team here at our Glasgow dental clinic is on hand if you need any more information or advice about dental implants.

What is a dental implant?

A natural tooth consists of a crown (the part you see above the gum), and the root (the part hidden under the gum). It is the root in the jawbone that actually holds the natural tooth in place.
Dental implants are state of the art modern dentistry.
They are small titanium “fixtures” that take place of the natural root of the tooth. Carefully implanted into the bone, these very tiny titanium roots actually bond or integrate with a patient’s bone, more securely than natural root would.

Dental Implants provide additional support where teeth are missing without putting forces onto remaining natural teeth. They can be used to support the replacement of a single missing tooth or a complete functional set for individuals who have lost many of their teeth.

What are the benefits of dental implants?

Improved Appearance.

When teeth are lost, ongoing shrinkage of the jawbone occurs making the face look older. Dental implants can stop this for happening. Dental implants look and feel like your own teeth.

Improved Comfort

Dental implants eliminate the pain and discomfort of removable full or partial dentures. Since dentures sit on top of the jawbone and gums, continuous shrinkage of the jaw bone alters the fit of the denture resulting in slipping or rocking of the dentures. Exposed nerves and irritation of the gum tissue may add to the discomfort.
Implant supported replacement teeth are like natural teeth because they are anchored securely to your jawbone.
Gum irritation and the pain associated with conventional full or partial dentures are eliminated.

We see many patients throughout the year for dental implant work and we have several testimonials shown on our site.

If you click here you’ll see what some patients have written about dental implant work carried out at the clinic.

Update on dentist colleague Liz Glass and one of her pups

Here’s dentist colleague Liz Glass with one of her six new pups – delivered by Twiggy her golden labrador.

The team all visited Liz at home to see the pups – four ‘boys’ and two ‘girls’ – not long after they were born back in December and we’ve been interested to learn whenever each finds a new owner.

Dentist Liz Glass with pup

Dentist Liz Glass with the pup destined for Canine Partners' charity training programme

This little chap – 8 weeks old on Tuesday – is very special as he’s been signed up by the Canine Partners charity which provides ‘assistance dogs’ for people with disabilities.
He’ll undergo 18 months of training before being allocated to his ‘partner’ and owner…

Liz tells us he had to undergo a short training assessment when the charity people came to visit. He passed!

Liz has given him the Kennel Club registered name of “Glasgow Wish Come True”. Her clinic colleagues know him as Pfad (acronym for Philip Friel Advanced Dentistry).

The team here at our Glasgow dental clinic is looking forward to hear of his progress as he heads off on Tuesday to start training for his role.

The charity site gives you more info on the great work they do…click here

You can see a video of the puppy at our Facebook page by clicking here

Patient’s view on dental implant work: “awe inspiring piece of precision ‘engineering’”

We were delighted to receive this testimonial from a patient at our Glasgow clinic.

We really do appreciate the time patients will take in giving us feedback on the treatment they’ve received. This 68-year-old female patient wrote…

Dr Philip Friel is an outstanding practitioner, an unbridled enthusiast and optimist, and an utterly delightful person in whom one can have absolute confidence; he is well deserving of the many awards and accolades he has received, both at Scottish and national levels.

Despite setbacks, none of which occasioned by him, during my complicated, implant treatment, he continued to treat me with infinite patience, perseverance and genuine kindness. His approach has always been unhurried, calm and precise.

Before the treatment commenced, I received a detailed treatment plan with a precise costing, rather than the more commonly given estimate. It was particularly reassuring to be given Dr Friel’s mobile phone number with instructions to contact him, should I experience any post-treatment problems; following each surgical procedure, I had a phone call from the practice checking on how I was feeling. Such attention to detail, does make a real difference to the overall, patient experience.

Dr Friel’s dental implant nurse, Kasia, has been a constant support; her friendliness and empathy have been a real ‘comfort blanket,’ as I am definitely not the bravest or calmest of patients, following a lifetime of dental complications, too numerous to mention.

The finished result is aesthetically very pleasing and an awe inspiring piece of precision ‘engineering’. It has certainly taken time and there have been difficulties along the way, however, thanks to the sheer professionalism and perseverance of Phil, I am delighted to say, mission duly accomplished. Philip Friel Advanced Dentistry is a dynamic practice, using state of the art technology and the very latest techniques and materials, but for me, it is the genuinely warm and friendly atmosphere and the emphasis on treating people as individuals, in addition to the high quality dental care, that sets it apart from others. I cannot recommend Philip Friel highly enough, and sincerely thank everyone involved in my treatment.”

The team particularly appreciated the patient’s comments about dental implant nurse Kasia whose involvement gave the patient what she described as a “comfort blanket”.
Our thanks to the patient for her kind words.

Dentist Elizabeth Glass increases her clinic presence

We’re delighted to announce the our dentist colleague Elizabeth – or Liz as many know her – Glass is set to increase the number of days she’ll be based at our Glasgow dental clinic.

Elizabeth Glass who has many years of dental experience and has a focus on cosmetic and general dentistry is a well respected member of our team here.

She also has a particular interest in teeth whitening and is a member of the British Dental Bleaching Society.

Elizabeth Glass is a dentist at the Philip Friel Advanced Dentistry Clinic in Glasgow

Elizabeth Glass

Observing changes in her patients’ dentition and appearance over the years has led to Elizabeth developing a special interest in tooth wear, grinding and clenching habits and the accompanying aesthetics changes as well as functional problems that these habits bring. Worn teeth lead to a reduction in the height or “vertical dimension” of the face.

Restoring the back teeth properly – to the correct facial height – can have a wonderful cosmetically enhancing effect – often described as a “non-surgical facelift”.

This can be combined with bleaching, porcelain crowns and veneers on the front teeth – a real complete smile makeover.

She enjoys all aspects of dentistry from basic care to advanced techniques and gets particular satisfaction helping apprehensive patients overcome their fear of dental treatment.

For more information or for appointments to see Elizabeth contact us via the website, by emailing her directly on eg@philipfriel.com or by telephoning the clinic on 0141 339 7579.

You can find out more about Elizabeth’s professional qualifications and background by clicking here.

Caring for patients undergoing chemotherapy treatment

Last year our dental hygienist team Jen and Viv – based at our Glasgow dental clinic – penned a series of columns for the Dentistry Scotland magazine.

Here in the column they touched on a sensitive topic – caring for patients undergoing chemotherapy treatment.

There’s some useful information in this column and we’re happy to answer any questions in relation to what’s included.

“When we were asked to write a column in Dentistry Scotland our plan was to keep it light hearted and chatty, informal and fun.

However over the last few months we’ve both had some young patients who are undergoing chemotherapy, seeking advice on how to take care of their mouths during treatment. We decided that a more serious topic is the order of the day for this issue.

Prevention of oral problems during chemotherapy begins before treatment even starts. A doctor should suggest the patient sees a dentist and dental hygienist a few weeks before chemotherapy begins. They may refer the patient to a dentist that has a particular focus in caring for patients undergoing treatment.

Chemotherapy kills or slows cancer cells by interfering with cell growth processes in rapidly growing cells. Cancer cells grow at an uncontrolled rate even faster than healthy cells in your body, hair, nail, skin, blood, and mucus membrane that are supposed to grow quickly.

The mouth and digestive system are made of cells that normally renew themselves at a fairly swift pace and this makes then very susceptible to temporary damage by chemotherapy.

Jen and Viv our dental hygienists who penned this blog post

Jen and Viv - our dental hygienist team at Glasgow dental clinic

If you encourage your patient to work with your dental team, hygienist and oncologist to help prevent and treat oral side effects, you will give your patient a better chance of getting through cancer treatments smoothly resulting in a better quality of life.

Oral Side Effects of Chemotherapy

Not everyone will have the same side effects, but many patients may have some of these problems during treatment. If the patient develops an oral problem during treatment, here are some suggestions that may help…

Infections in gums or mouth lining

You should always encourage your patient to inspect their mouth including their lips and tongue in good light every day. Advise them to look for any abnormalities in colour or texture.

Dry mouth

After treatment and using painkillers this may make your patient’s mouth dry. This can be extremely unpleasant and can interfere with talking, eating and holding dentures in place.

Always ensure your patients keep their mouth and dentures as clean as possible and to seek advice quickly if they think there is any infection.

They should keep a bottle of water handy and drink plenty throughout the day.

Sucking on sugar free sweets or chewing sugar free gum can help keep their mouth moist.

You can also suggest to them to try a swish-and-spit solution. Mix ½ to 1 teaspoon of salt or baking soda with a glass of water, four to five times daily or more often if required.

We did find one other solution that was recommended. Either olive oil or vegetable oil, which helps, lubricates the mouth but apparently hardly anyone can tolerate this – we wonder why?

There are some saliva substitutes available by prescription and your patient should refer to their GP for more information.
Ulceration can often be eased by regularly using a mouthwash containing –
Chlorhexidine (products such as Corsodyl Chlorohex or Eludril ), which will help, ease infection and give pain relief from ulcers. You can also explain that it will help prevent build up of plaque, but may cause some staining, which can easily be removed.
Benzydamine mouthwash (a product such as Difflam) can be helpful as a local anaesthetic and again can ease discomfort and aid eating.
There are protective gels, which can be applied directly to the sore areas in the mouth (a product such as Orabase) which people find soothing.

Taking good care of your patient’s mouth is paramount and we recommend you advise them on the following points:
· use a soft toothbrush
· use mild or unflavored toothpaste with fluoride
· choose alcohol–free mouthwash
· floss gently to avoid irritation
· keep your toothbrush clean and dry between uses
· apply non-petroleum lip balm to keep lips moist

We considered the pros and cons of using natural toothpaste. Firstly, Kingfisher (Holland and Barrett) is BDHA approved and contains fluoride but contains SLS (a binding agent which can cause adverse reactions in the mouth).
Aloe Dent toothpaste (Holland and Barrett) contains aloe vera and Co Q10 which is great for soft tissue and aids repair (antimicrobial/antibacterial) and xylitol (not fluoride but has been shown to help reduce decay) is SLS free.
Tom of Maine (H&B) again contains xylitol. No fluoride but contains SLS.

Corsodyl Daily contains fluoride, lots of various plant extracts and essential oils to keep gums and tissue healthy. It is SLS free but is an acquired taste.

Losing the sense of taste
As we know there are four main types of taste, so taste changes during chemotherapy are common. The exact reasons for taste change are unclear at least 50% experience taste change.
Most people report changes involving a lower threshold for bitter tastes and higher for sweet there are a few things you can encourage your patient to try so they can manage the changes…
- as always maintain good oral hygiene and rinse with a fluoride containing mouthwash after meals
- avoid cigarette smoking
- increase fluid intake
- chew ice to mask the bitter or metallic taste
- once again eat sugar free sweets and chewing gum
Taste changes may occur during treatment and can last hours, days, weeks or even months. There’s no magic solution for taste change that will suit each and every patient. Finding the right foods that taste appealing may involve a process of trial and error.

Going forward
Having chemotherapy is never easy or pleasant so as dental professionals it’s our job to aid our patients in every way to make our side of caring for them as informative and as helpful as possible.
Then we’ll help them to make that difficult journey just that little bit easier and more comfortable for our patients.”

New surgeries: fit out work well underway

There’s great excitement in the clinic as we’re expanding!

Workmen are in on our clinic lower level completing the final fit-out of our two new surgeries…No4 and No5.

The plumbers, electricians, plasterers, joiners, ventilation experts and the fire and security specialists are working together to create the state of the art surgeries.

These surgeries will complement our existing three on the upper level and the additional rooms are being kitted out to the same high level of equipment and finish.

"Expansion work under way at our Glasgow dental clinic"

Let the work begin...transforming the surgeries on lower level

We’ll post further photos and update you on the project’s progress.

"Makeover work at our two new surgeries in our Glasgow dental clinic"

Makeover work continues at our two new surgeries in our Glasgow dental clinic

Sedation: key facts about a solution for patients attending the clinic.

There have been some reports in the media recently regarding the greater numbers of people receiving dental care with various sedation techniques in Scotland.

Now you may think that this is due to more and more people feeling nervous and anxious of receiving dental treatment, but I am not too sure this is the case.

I think more and more people are aware of the benefits of receiving dental care, and this includes the various sedation techniques such as “twilight sleep”.

In today’s world, people are aware of the importance of having a nice smile in their working and personal lives. Many of us are no longer willing to compromise on our appearance or our ability to chew and enjoy food in comfort, and people who are anxious of dental care are no different.

Some people may be nervous about undergoing dental care; this is perfectly normal. Often these anxieties can be dispelled with a caring attitude and good communication from your dentist, as well as gentle use of effective numbing techniques.

Websites for dental anxiety support, e.g www.dentalfearcentral.org, are wonderful resources where anxious patients can receive support from fellow patients and caring dentists, helping them on their journey to achieve optimal dental health.

Modern dental conscious sedation is a technique whereby different drugs are used to relax and sedate the anxious or phobic patient, and is carried out by dentists who have undergone additional postgraduate supervision and training.

It is an invaluable technique used to help those people whose anxiety may be such that a form of sedation is required to allow them to achieve their dental goals. Conscious sedation is also preferred to a general anaesthetic for potentially difficult surgical procedures e.g. removal of lower wisdom teeth or multiple implant placements; due to the exceptional safety record of conscious sedation, a more pleasant experience, and significantly lower costs compared with general anaesthesia.

Prospective candidates for conscious sedation are first assessed by the sedating dentist, to ensure that sedation is appropriate.

This will involve taking a detailed medical history, as well as assessing the patient’s medical fitness. If it is deemed that conscious sedation is appropriate, a full explanation of the procedure is provided, and an appointment arranged for treatment. On the day of the procedure, the patient will arrive with an escort who will accompany them home and look after them for the rest of the day.

The sedation drug will make the patient relaxed and a little drowsy, and for many, they will have no memory of the treatment.

After a short rest in the clinic to ensure that it is safe for the patient to go home with their escort, the patient is discharged, a step further along their road to optimal dental health and the smile that they have dreamed about.

The team here at our Glasgow dental clinic can offer patients advice and information on sedation techniques as well as in-clinic sedation. Please feel free to contact us via the website or by telephoning the team on 0141 339 7579.

Clinic back in full swing…

We’ve had a busy start to the new year – always a good sign.

After the holiday break the Glasgow clinic dental team returned full of renewed enthusiasm and motivation – and spurred on by our success as recipients of the Best Team Award (Scotland) in the UK Dentistry Awards in December.

Team work is vital in a clinic and we’re fortunate to work with a group of focused, experienced and well trained dental care professionals who know what team work is all about.

I’ve had some focus also on my role as president-elect of the ADI UK (the Association of Dental Implantology UK). The organisation exists not only to inform the public about the ins and outs of dental implant surgery but also to help dentists involved in this work. I’ve found membership a huge advantage as we get to find out a huge amount of information about the latest and newest advances in the dental implant world.

If you’d like more information about the ADI and its work you can click here.

More questions about dental issues

Last week in one of our blogs I spoke about the questions and answers column I am often asked to contribute to for The Clinic feature in the Daily Record newspaper.
When I’ve written about certain topics I often find that people will email me with other questions on these topics or indeed other issues which concern them about their dental health.
Should you have any questions please feel free to contact us here at our Glasgow dental clinic or via the contact page on our website or on Facebook or via Twitter @dentistglasgow.
We’re only too happy to assist you on any issues that worry you.
Here are more examples of the questions and answers that have appeared in The Clinic section.

Q
My 34-year-old partner is phobic about needles so a visit to the dentist is off the cards. Is there any help for him?

A
He’s not the only person who suffers in this way. We see many patients who are uncomfortable about a visit. A clinic offering various forms of dental sedation can provide a solution. Sedation techniques can allow patients to access first-class, advanced dental treatment without them being aware of the treatment being carried out. There are a number of techniques that can be used – acclimatization, hypnosis, de-sensitisation, or a form of sedation that avoids the need to use any injection. Indeed, in many cases a combination of these techniques can be used.

Q
I’m a 37-year-old bride to be and hating prospect of wedding photos because I’ve so many old, metal fillings. Is it advisable to have them replaced?

A
White fillings are a first-class way to return both the stability, colour and shape to the teeth. By bonding composite resin restorations, we can match shades, translucency and texture of your own teeth. The end result far surpasses the old amalgam fillings which can be unsightly and unnatural when you smile.
Make it a white wedding in all aspects – even your smile!

Thinking about braces? Key information about orthodontic work at our Glasgow dental clinic

Here at our clinic in Glasgow we’re fortunate to have a team of well qualified and experienced dental care professionals on hand for our patients.

Among the team is Andrew McGregor (pictured) who is our orthodontic specialist who has trained specifically in the field of orthodontic work.

Here Andrew writes about the treatments involved in orthodontics work and hopefully answers some questions you may have. Should you require any other information we’re happy to take your questions via the website, by phone or in person if you pop into the clinic.

Specialist orthodontist Andrew McGregor based at our Glasgow dental clinic

Our specialist orthodontist Andrew McGregor

There are many reasons people seek orthodontic (brace) treatment which range from personal concerns about the appearance of teeth to the family dentist observing problems with a bite or facial profile.

Corrections of crowded, squint or spaced teeth to improve smile appearance are perhaps the most common motivators for people to enquire about braces in my experience. There are a range of appliances available that can do this depending on the severity of the problem and the patient’s wishes. Although the principal goal is to correct the dental aesthetics in such cases, every effort is made to maintain or enhance facial appearance in conjunction.

Dentists tend to send patients to orthodontists for more complex reasons such as; concerns about poor biting relationships of the teeth and jaws, situations where there is an increased risk of trauma to teeth, treatment of impacted, missing and displaced teeth and reversal of the drifting of teeth seen in adults who have previously experienced gum disease. Dentists carrying out advanced procedures such as implants, crowns or bridges also find orthodontic ‘preparation’ of teeth invaluable in allowing them to achieve the best result possible.

This requires high levels of communication between the advanced dentist and orthodontist to be successful which is why having an orthodontist based at Philip Friel Advanced Dentistry helps to deliver optimal care.

However big or small the perceived problem, a consultation with an orthodontic specialist is a good place to start exploring the options.

The assessment is usually divided into two visits. The first involves a bit of ‘getting to know you’, where, following discussion about what the patient is looking to gain from orthodontics, a full assessment and necessary records (X-rays, photos, moulds of teeth) are taken.

The follow-up appointment will be to discuss, in detail, the treatment options available and also gives the opportunity to ask any questions. If a treatment plan is agreed at this stage then arrangements can then be made to get started!

Overall, orthodontics represents a range of relatively low-risk treatments that can help many people improve their dental health and appearance for life if they are willing to make the commitment.

This blog was written by Andrew McGregor
Specialist Orthodontist
GDC No. 80505