Poor posture can have a direct effect on your oral health.

Dentistry isn’t just about teeth and gums.

It encompasses your entire oral health, which has a direct relationship with your overall health and well-being.

Dentist v GP?

All too often people will visit their GP with problems like headaches and facial pain, when they might be missing a Dentist’s help.

We need to make people more aware of how we, as dental professionals, can help determine the cause of dental, facial, or head pain and give them the necessary tools to relieve their symptoms and improve their quality of life.


Could  a problem with your Temporomandibular Joint/s (TMJ) be causing your Headaches?

More than 10 million people in the UK get headaches regularly, making them one of the most common health complaints.

90% of headaches could actually be caused by disorders in the facial muscles and nerves.

One cause of headaches that warrants investigation by your Dentist, is Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction/Disorder (TMJD).

More information can be found via the following links:



Up to 25% of the population are affected by TMJD symptoms, but only 5% seek help, the remainder simply ‘put up with’ it.


Symptoms of TMJD such as pain, locking and stiffness of the jaw can occur at any age, but are more common among women and those between the ages of 20 and 50. They can range from a slight nuisance to severely debilitating as it can impact your ability to eat, talk and sleep. They may occur on one or both sides of the face. Other symptoms include fatigue, ringing in the ears, neck tension, sinus congestion and ear infections.

But what causes TMJD?

There are many possible causes of TMJD but one important element that is so often overlooked is bad posture.

Poor posture can result from occupational factors such as prolonged desk work at an incorrectly set up computer station, lifestyle factors such as being more sedentary, obese, stressed, pregnant, having poor muscle tone, psychological factors such as self esteem and confidence or physical factors such as spinal deformities (scoliosis).

Currently trending, is the aptly named ‘iPad neck’, where looking down for long periods at tablets and mobile phones, causes pain, stiffness and long term postural changes. It stands to reason the jaw joint will also be affected by this.

The Posture Theory.

From an alignment perspective, the human head is meant to sit directly on top of the shoulders.

side-posture  poor-posture1

When the head moves forward, in front of the shoulder joint, especially during sedentary activities, the muscles of the TMJ along with the neck and shoulder muscles have to work hard to support the weight of the head, holding it up against gravity, exerting high forces because the head is no longer in a balanced, energy efficient position, supported by the rest of the body.bambach1

The fine and complex musculature responsible for the movement of the jaw are not designed to perform heavy lifting.

The forward head and neck position triggers a righting reflex in the brain, cocking your head back to level the eyes with the horizon but unless we rebalance the head’s position on our shoulders, this only makes the neck more extended and the extensor muscles working even harder.

This extra effort from the jaw muscles pulls the mandible back and down, the mouth wants to hang open which results in the powerful jaw closing muscles working even harder to prevent this. Under the stress of supporting the head in an incorrect position, the jaw muscles go into lock down and the jaw loses its ability to move smoothly and freely.

What we end up with, is abnormal mandibular positioning, nerve compression, ligament strain and disc compression. No wonder it hurts!

The Solution.

Primarily we must deal with the cause, the head-forward posture. Corrective exercises will restore the jaw joint’s ability to glide freely and remove the pressure on the surrounding musculature.

  • make a conscious effort to stand, sit and lie down properly.
  • always practice ‘head up’ walking.
  • if you are reading for prolonged periods, keep your mobile, book etc held up in front of you, level with your eyes.
  • if you have to sit for long periods, at a computer or desk, take frequent breaks (about every 20 mins.) to look up; sit up or get up and stretch.
  • stay active, take regular good exercise.

Do this exercise often:

  • Stand up straight, look straight ahead. Keeping your head and chin level.
  • Gently lengthen your neck upwards as you tuck in your chin, drawing your head back over your shoulders.
  • Bring your shoulder blades down and back towards your spine.
  • Pull in your lower tummy muscles to maintain a natural curve in your lower back.
  • Hold for 3-5 seconds. Repeat 10 times.
  • DO NOT allow the head to return forward past neutral.
  • Do not elevate your chin or shoulders.


More good advice can be found here:


and download our Exercises to improve the function of the Temporo-mandibular Joint from our websites’ download page.


Symptoms can also be treated with pain medication or your Dentist may decide to refer you to a specialist. Other treatments include injecting the jaw joint with a long-lasting local anaesthetic and steroid; fitting a bespoke oral appliance, such as a bite guard to help align the teeth, relieve pressure, prevent damage to teeth and rest the jaw.

It is also important to attend to any required dental work, to maintain the stability and integrity of your bite, such as addressing loose crowns, bridges or ill-fitting dentures.

Take home message.

Visit your Dentist regularly, your oral health is of paramount importance to your well being.

If you suffer from headaches or jaw problems, discuss this with your dental team. They will be able to help. Finding the cause of the problem is half way to a solution.



















Planning your wedding? How important is your smile?


Your wedding day is going to be the most important day of your life so far. It’s the day everything else has been leading up to and probably the one day you will plan for more than any other.

Every detail has been considered, the venue, guest list, menu, in fact the only thing you can’t plan is the weather!

As a reminder of this most special occasion, the day will be captured through photographs and video, a keepsake for the rest of your life.

 “A smile takes but a moment, but the memory of it lasts forever”. ~ anonymous

Have you thought to consider how much your smile will play centre stage on your big day?

“You’re never fully dressed without a smile”. ~ Martin Charnin

Your smile will be in demand from the moment you step into the limelight and will be the last thing you are wearing at the end of the day.

It is said “it takes 43 muscles to frown but only 17 to smile“, so when you’re halfway through your photo shoot and your facial muscles are aching for a rest, you’ll be glad it’s a happy day!

On your wedding day you should be feeling full of confidence and this shouldn’t be undermined by any worries about your appearance, how your smile looks or whether your breath stays fresh and teeth sparkly clean.

As part of your wedding preparations, smile in the mirror and ask yourself the following questions:

  •  Are you happy with the way your teeth look? 
  •   Do you like the colour of your teeth? 
  •  Are there any old fillings or dental work you don’t like?
  • Do you have gaps you don’t like?
  • Are your teeth chipped or damaged?
  • Is there anything you would like to change about the appearance of your teeth?
  • How would you like your teeth to look?                  

Fresh breath and a dazzling smile.    

You would be amazed how easily we could change things for you. At St Paul’s Dental Practice it’s not about filling holes and pulling teeth, it’s about You, your self esteem, your health and helping you achieve a confident smile.

Increase the radiance of your smile with a visit to our Hygienist, for a profession clean, with a scale and polish or zesty Air Polish, a really effective way of removing stains.

S&P Air-polish

For a long-lasting effect, consider Tooth Whitening to restore or lighten the shade of your teeth and remove deep staining. Internal bleaching is an ideal solution if you have one discoloured, damaged tooth.

Unsightly or old fillings can easily be replaced using tooth coloured material, whilst chipped teeth can be smoothed over and reshaped to keep them even.

Gaps between your teeth, that you don’t like the look of can be closed with straight forward cosmetic treatments without the need for fitted braces.

So with all the plans under way, don’t forget to make a little extra time to boost your smile, it will do wonders for your self confidence when the spotlights are on you.

Remember to follow a simple daily routine to keep your smile radiant.

  • Brush your teeth for 2 minutes, twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.
  • Brushing your tongue can help keep your breath fresh.
  • Floss at least once a day.
  • Chew sugar-free gum after meals.
  • Cut down on sugary foods and drink.
  • Keep your toothbrush clean and fresh and change it every 2-3 months to keep it effective in the removal of plaque.

So here’s to the start of the next chapter in your life.

“Smile don’t frown, look up don’t look down, believe in yourself, don’t let yourself go, just be who you are, and let your life flow”.










Providing special care at St Paul’s Dental Practice.


Meet Sally. Sally is our Dental Nurse who has a specific interest and additional training to support people attending our Practice with special needs.

It is Sally’s goal to identify and consider the individual needs of anyone with learning or physical impairment; communication difficulties; mental health issues or anxiety, to give some examples.

Her extended knowledge helps us provide effective, co-ordinated dental care and helps to overcome the barriers that make attending the dental practice challenging for some people.

In addition to ensuring access to dental care and treatment is possible for everyone, Sally’s role is key to promoting oral health and well being for those with special needs.

Often patients such as this have complex health needs that may compromise their oral health. They may be taking multiple medications resulting in side effects and drug interactions causing symptoms such as a dry mouth (Xerostomia); difficulty or discomfort in chewing or swallowing (Dysphagia); soreness from denture wearing or overgrowth of their gum tissue (Gingival Hyperplasia).

Periodontitis (inflammatory gum disease) linked to Alzheimer’s  progression.

A recent study by the University of Southampton revealed that the presence of gum disease was associated with an increase in the rate of cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s patients, as a result of systemic inflammation.

This highlights the importance of treating gum disease and optimising the oral health of people with Alzheimer’s.

Gum disease is widespread in the UK and in older age groups is a major cause of tooth loss. A number of studies have shown that having fewer teeth, probably as a consequence of earlier gum disease, is associated with a greater risk of developing dementia and patients with dementia have poorer dental health than others of a similar age.

People with cognitive or physical impairment are likely to find it more difficult to maintain their oral hygiene routine so it is essential that they attend the Dentist and Hygienist on a regular basis and get the additional support they need from a Special Care dental nurse.


What else can our Special Care dental nurse offer?

  • assistance with communication, mobility or transport.
  • liaison with other organisations for on-going referral, such as community or domicillary care; orthodontic or sedation services.
  • the timely management of appointments, adjusting length or time of day according to individual needs.
  • reviewing medications for any interactions or contraindications for oral health.
  • education for patients and care givers about oral health needs and required treatments
  • providing user friendly information leaflets
  • teaching assisted tooth brushing techniques; the effective use of interdental aids; appropriate mouth washes and care of appliances
  • promoting preventative care, fluoride applications and an appropriate diet
  • advising on aids and adaptations; such as the ‘collis curve’ adapted tooth brush and custom made mouth cleaning devices.







If you feel you need some help or advice for yourself or someone you care for, we’ll put you in touch with Sally. Contact our reception team or for more information on dental care for people with special needs, follow the link below from the Oral Health Foundation.


The Dental Therapist?

What is a Dental Therapist?

So you’ve been in to see your Dentist for your routine check-up and they’ve identified some treatment you require to keep your mouth in top health.

As you can see our surgery is kept busy with a large volume of patients and your Dentist is concerned not to keep you waiting too long before the required treatment is done.


They know from their examination, exactly what the treatment will involve and that it will be straightforward to complete, so this is an ideal situation to take advantage of the skills of a Dental Therapist.

When and how were Therapists introduced?

The role of the Dental Therapist emerged after a change in legislation in July 2002 enabled suitably qualified, registered dental professionals to carry out certain items of dental treatment direct to patients, under prescription from a Dentist.

How are Dental Therapists trained?

There are several ways to qualify as a Therapist/Hygienist-Therapist.

  • Diploma in Dental Hygiene & Therapy – two year full time course
  • BSc in Oral Health Science – three year full time course
  • BSc (Hons) – four year course


The entry requirements for these courses vary but to have worked in a dental environment and obtained a dental nurse qualification first is the usual route.

What the training involves is determined by the General Dental Council (GDC), as is the Therapists’ ‘Scope of Practice’.

What does ‘Scope of Practice’ mean?

The GDC which regulates the dental profession, defines ‘Scope of Practice’ as ‘a way of describing what you are trained and competent to do. It describes the areas in which you have the knowledge, skills and experience to practise safely and effectively in the best interests of patients’.

What treatment can a Dental Therapist do?

Therapists are trained and competent to:

  • Re-cement crowns
  • Take impressions
  • Carry out direct restorations (fillings)
  • Perform pulpotomies, (removal of infected portions of the pulp tissue in a tooth)
  • Extract primary teeth

In many ways Therapy is an extension to the role of a Hygienist. For a full description of their roles follow this link.


Our Hygiene/Therapy Team.

At St Paul’s, both our Hygienists are also trained Therapists. We feel this gives us a great advantage because of the greater depth of knowledge and range of skills they have, as well as the benefits of continuity to patients who will most likely already know them in their role as Hygienist and will have confidence in them when they receive treatment from them as a Therapist.

What you should expect from us when you need dental treatment.

  • To be seen in a timely manner
  • It should be made clear after your dental examination what treatment is necessary. A treatment plan is created for you.
  • Your Dentist will discuss the treatment with you and decide with you who will carry out the treatment, either themselves or a Therapist.
  • An appointment for the treatment will be made by our reception staff at a convenient date and time.






Great Feedback

Just recently we received this great feedback from someone who was visiting our Practice for the first time, it highlighted several important things.


Fear and anxiety in attending a dental practice is extremely common, to the point that people will put off attending for routine care and put up with dental pain, infections or even broken teeth.

In a survey by the British Dental Health Foundation, 36% of those who didn’t see a dentist regularly said that fear was the main reason.

As a result, people with dental anxiety have a higher risk of gum disease and early tooth loss, exacerbating a need to attend.

If you feel anxious about a dental appointment, the first thing to do is tell us. Talking through your reasons for feeling nervous will help you realise we really do understand and will take you through things slowly and reassuringly.

As this lady found, she didn’t need the treatment she dreaded most. We are committed to preventive dentistry and visiting the Hygienist is the perfect way to keep your oral health in tip top condition and avoid problems in the future. So don’t put off visiting us, attend regularly and build your confidence.

All our staff from the Dentist, Hygienist, nurses and receptionists are here to make your experience as relaxed and pleasant as possible. It makes our role very rewarding when this approach pays off and we receive such positive feedback.



Knowledge is key.


We can’t help feeling proud of the effort and enthusiasm made by the team keeping pace with developments in Dentistry, fulfilling our Practice ethos to encourage and support learning and skills training for team members.
2015 was no less busy than previous years in this respect.

Sally achieved a certificate in Special Care Dental Nursing, giving us insight and knowledge to make dentistry more accessible and user friendly for less able people attending their dental appointments. special care dentistry

Rebecca completed training to become Decontamination and Infection Control Lead. Keeping our state of the art instrument sterilisation room and infection prevention protocols running smoothly at to a very high standard.





Anna has just completed training in Fluoride Varnish application, a very beneficial treatment for protecting children’s growing teeth from developing decay.

fluoride varnish

Marsha is currently studying for her Dental Nursing Qualification.

Michaela is attending a course to achieve a certificate in Dental Implant Nursing.

And 2016 will be no different. We will be looking out for more training opportunities for all team members, to nurture their professional development, benefit the service standards we provide and keep our Practice at the forefront of our profession.