To all our NHS patients.

As 2023 comes to an end, a reflection on the year.

The Good.

Our commitment to the NHS endures and we continue to provide a good quality service in spite of everything you hear about NHS Dentistry in the press.

Delivering this commitment is dependent on having the right team and enough of them and this year we were really pleased to be joined in September by Amrish, a Bristol qualified Dentist. He is already a great asset to the St. Paul’s team.

As a result we were able to take on more patients in 2023.

We are also fortunate to have some exceptionally talented trainee dental nurses who are well on the way to achieving their Dental Nursing qualifications, over the next months/years. https://www.stpaulsdentalpractice.co.uk/dental-team.html

The Bad.

However recruitment is an ongoing issue. We need more people with the right skills and attitude, in keeping with the Practice ethos. We are continually advertising and currently looking for a Dentist; Hygiene/Therapist and qualified Dental Nurse.

Unfortunately qualified staff are disillusioned with working within the NHS framework.

 http://www.freepik.com

Early next year, Tariq will be leaving us and it’s imperative we find a suitable replacement as soon as possible.

The Ugly.

To match our commitment to you, we need a commitment from you.

NHS England award us a contract dependent on us delivering a specific amount of dentistry each year. We are penalised if we under perform and similarly if we overperform. In the 17 years of working with this current contract, we have always met our targets. However this is dependent on our surgeries working at maximum capacity, having no empty spaces in our normal working day.

We are plagued by missed appointments and late cancellations, unable to fill these appointments at short notice. Today for example one surgery had 6 late cancellations!

Please when you book your appointment, make sure it works for you and consider the impact on us if you don’t attend. Naturally there are unavoidable circumstances but where possible, we require at least 24 hour notice to re-allocate your appointment time.

The long term impact could unfortunately result in the South West losing yet another NHS Dentist. https://www.bda.org/media-centre/half-of-dentists-have-cut-back-nhs-work-with-more-to-follow-as-crisis-mounts/

Shining a Light on Mouth Cancer: Awareness and Prevention

In the realm of oral health, there’s a silent threat that often goes unnoticed until it is at an advanced stage: Mouth Cancer. November marks Mouth Cancer Awareness Month, supported by the Mouth Cancer Foundation https://www.mouthcancerfoundation.org/mouth-cancer-action-month/

A critical time to shed light on this often overlooked but potentially life-threatening condition. Mouth cancer, also known as oral cancer, can affect the lips, tongue, cheeks, and throat. It is essential to understand its risk factors, symptoms, and preventive measures.

Understanding Mouth Cancer

Mouth cancer involves abnormal cell growth in the oral cavity. It can manifest in various ways, such as persistent sores, lumps, or rough spots in the mouth, throat, or lips. The condition can be attributed to several factors:

  1. Tobacco and Alcohol: The most significant risk factors for mouth cancer are tobacco use and excessive alcohol consumption. Combining both habits significantly increases the risk.
  2. HPV Infection: Certain strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV) have been linked to mouth cancer.
  3. Poor Oral Hygiene: Neglecting oral health and hygiene practices can contribute to the development of mouth cancer.                                                                                                             

Signs and Symptoms

Recognizing the signs and symptoms of mouth cancer is crucial for early detection and effective treatment. Look out for:

  • Persistent mouth ulcers: Sores that don’t heal within two weeks.
  • Unexplained lumps: Any abnormal growths in the mouth or neck area.
  • Red or white patches: Color changes on the tongue, gums, or other parts of the mouth.
  • Persistent sore throat: Discomfort or pain that doesn’t go away.

Preventive Measures

Prevention plays a pivotal role in combating mouth cancer. Here are some proactive steps:

  1. Regular Dental Check-ups: Routine dental visits allow for early detection and intervention. Screening for mouth, head and neck cancer is part of any routine dental examination.
  2. Healthy Lifestyle Choices: Avoid tobacco in any form and moderate alcohol intake. A balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables helps fortify the body against various diseases.
  3. Oral Hygiene: Maintain a consistent oral care routine, including brushing twice a day and flossing, to minimize the risk of developing oral health issues.

Raising Awareness and Support

Mouth Cancer Awareness Month serves as an opportunity to educate communities, support affected individuals, and encourage preventive actions. The Mouth Cancer and Oral Health foundations are proactive through out the year and their websites full of advice and information.

Take Action Today

Early detection saves lives.

By spreading awareness, emphasizing the significance of early detection, and advocating for healthy lifestyle choices, we can make a significant impact in the fight against mouth cancer. Every individual’s contribution, whether through education, support, or personal health choices, is a step towards a world where mouth cancer is detected early, treated effectively, and prevented through proactive measures.

In the spirit of Mouth Cancer Awareness Month, let’s commit to spreading knowledge, supporting those affected, and prioritizing our oral health. Remember, your Dentist is not just a caretaker of your smile but also a guardian of your overall health. Regular check-ups and a vigilant approach to oral health are your best defenses against this silent threat.

 

The Ultimate Guide to Oral Hygiene

When it comes to your overall health and well-being, few things are considered as important as maintaining good oral hygiene.

                       Photo courtesy of freerangestock.com/photographer/Candace-McDaniel

Your oral health is not just about having a dazzling smile; it’s also crucial for your overall health. Poor oral hygiene can lead to a host of dental problems and even impact your overall health in surprising ways. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the essential aspects of oral hygiene and provide you with tips and tricks to keep your smile radiant and your teeth and gums healthy. https://www.dentalhealth.org/caring-for-my-teeth

Why is Oral Hygiene So Important?
Before we dive into the practical tips, let’s understand why oral hygiene matters. Your mouth is a gateway to your body, and its health can influence your overall well-being. Poor oral hygiene can lead to several problems, including:

1. Tooth Decay: Neglecting your oral health can result in cavities, causing pain and discomfort.
2. Gum Disease: Gingivitis and Periodontitis can develop due to plaque buildup, potentially leading to tooth loss.
3. Bad Breath: Neglected oral hygiene can result in chronic bad breath, affecting your confidence and social interactions.  https://www.stpaulsdentalpractice.co.uk/fresh-breath-devon.html
4. Heart Disease: Surprisingly, gum disease has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease and other systemic conditions.
5. Diabetes: There is evidence that poorly managed oral health can exacerbate diabetes symptoms.
6. Respiratory Problems: Oral bacteria can be inhaled into the lungs, causing respiratory infections or exacerbating pre-existing lung disease .

Now that we understand the importance of oral hygiene let’s delve into the steps you can take to maintain a healthy smile.

  1. Brushing Your Teeth

The cornerstone of any oral hygiene routine is regular and proper brushing. Here’s how to do it right:

  • Use the Right Toothbrush: Choose a medium-bristle toothbrush, however electric toothbrushes offer the most effective cleaning and plaque removal.
  • Brush Twice a Day: Brush your teeth at least twice a day, ideally in the morning and before bed.
  • Proper Technique: Hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to your gums and use gentle, circular motions. Brush for at least two minutes.
  • Don’t Forget Your Tongue: Gently brush your tongue to remove bacteria that can cause bad breath.
  1. Flossing Daily

Brushing alone can’t reach all the nooks and crannies between your teeth. That’s where dental floss and interdental brushes come in:

  • Use Floss and/or Interdental Brushes Daily: Make cleaning between your teeth a daily habit, preferably before bedtime.
  • Use Proper Technique:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Flossing Quick Guide 
  • Because you’ll be putting your fingers into your mouth, be sure to wash your hands before you reach for the floss.
  • Use enough floss.
  • Gently slide the floss between your teeth and curve it around each tooth in a “C” shape.
  • Don’t forget the back of your last molars.

https://www.oralb.co.uk/en-gb/oral-health/why-oral-b/why-floss/how-to-use-dental-floss

Interdental Brushing Quick Guide

  • Select a brush appropriate to the gap(s) that you are cleaning.
  • Very gently insert the brush into the gap(s), but don’t push.  If you meet resistance then change the angle of the brush; or it could be that you need to use a smaller brush.
  • Slowly and gently move the brush back and forth and against the side of each tooth to dislodge and remove any debris or build-up of plaque.
  • Develop a pattern using the different sized brushes to work around your mouth, ensuring that you clean between all the gaps.
  • Always apply the same hygiene rules to your interdental brushes as you do to your toothbrush.  Rinse them thoroughly after use.

https://www.tepe.com/global/tips–advice/everyday-oral-care/how-to-use-interdental-brushes/

  1. Rinse with Mouthwash

Mouthwash can help reduce plaque, fight bacteria, and freshen your breath.

  1. Healthy Diet Choices

What you eat affects your oral health:

  • Limit Sugary Foods and Drinks: Sugar feeds harmful bacteria in your mouth, leading to decay. Reduce your consumption of sugary items.
  • Eat Tooth-Friendly Foods: Incorporate foods rich in calcium, like dairy products, leafy greens, and almonds.
  • Stay Hydrated: Water helps wash away food particles and bacteria. Drink plenty of it throughout the day.

https://www.stpaulsdentalpractice.co.uk/healthy-diet-devon.html

  1. Regular Dental Check-ups

Even if you follow an impeccable oral hygiene routine, it’s essential to visit your Dentist and Hygienist regularly for check-ups and professional cleanings. Your Dentist can catch issues early and provide guidance on your oral health.

https://www.stpaulsdentalpractice.co.uk/dental-hygiene-devon.html

  1. Avoid Harmful Habits

Certain habits can harm your oral health:

  • Smoking: Smoking increases the risk of gum disease and oral cancer. Seek help to quit if you smoke.
  • Chewing Tobacco: Like smoking, this habit is harmful to your oral health and can lead to oral cancer.
  • Nail Biting: This can chip teeth and damage your gums.
  1. Protect Your Teeth

If you play sports or grind your teeth at night, consider using a mouthguard to protect your teeth from injury or damage.

https://www.stpaulsdentalpractice.co.uk/mouth-guards-devon.html

Conclusion: Good oral hygiene is your Smile’s best friend.

Your smile is a valuable asset, and taking care of your oral health is a lifelong commitment. By following these essential steps and maintaining a regular dental check-up schedule, you can enjoy a radiant smile and excellent overall health. Remember, good oral hygiene is not just about looking good; it’s about feeling good too. So, keep brushing, flossing, and smiling—it’s the key to a happy and healthy life.  https://www.stpaulsdentalpractice.co.uk/index.html

Photo courtesy of freerangestock.com/skintonestudios

 

Achieving a Brighter Smile: Your Trusted Dental Care Partner at St. Paul’s Dental Practice.

Image by cookie_studio on Freepik

Introduction: A radiant smile is more than just a facial expression – it’s a reflection of your overall health and confidence. At St. Paul’s Dental Practice, we understand the significance of a healthy and beautiful smile. As your trusted dental care partner, we are committed to providing top-notch dental services that cater to your unique needs. In this blog, we’ll explore the comprehensive range of services we offer and why we’re your go-to destination for all your dental needs.

Our Services:

  1. General Dentistry: Our experienced team of dentists excels in general dental services that include regular check-ups, cleanings, and screenings. Maintaining oral hygiene  is the foundation of a healthy smile, and our professionals ensure that your teeth and gums are in optimal condition.
  2. Cosmetic Dentistry: If you’re looking to enhance the aesthetics of your smile, our cosmetic dentistry solutions have you covered. From teeth whitening to veneers, we specialize in treatments that transform your smile into a confident and captivating asset.
  3. Restorative Dentistry: Life happens, and so do dental issues. Our restorative dentistry services encompass everything from fillings and crowns to dental implants and bridges. We are dedicated to restoring both the function and appearance of your teeth, ensuring you can enjoy life to the fullest.
  4. Emergency Dentistry: Dental emergencies can be distressing, but with our prompt and attentive emergency dental care, you’re in safe hands. We prioritize urgent cases to alleviate pain and prevent further complications.
  5. Children’s Dentistry: Instilling good oral habits from a young age sets the foundation for lifelong dental health. Our friendly and approachable team makes every visit enjoyable for your little ones while ensuring their teeth are well taken care of.

Why Choose St. Paul’s Dental Practice?

  1. Expertise and Experience: With years of experience under our belt, our skilled team of dentists and hygienists are well-equipped to handle a wide array of dental concerns. We stay updated with the latest industry trends and techniques to provide you with the best care possible.
  2. Patient-Centred Approach: Your comfort and satisfaction are our top priorities. We listen to your concerns, address your questions, and tailor our treatments to suit your individual needs. Your journey towards a healthier smile is a collaborative effort.
  3. Cutting-Edge Technology: Our practice is equipped with state-of-the-art dental technology, ensuring accurate diagnoses and effective treatments. We believe in embracing innovation to deliver the highest standard of care.
  4. Warm and Welcoming Environment: We understand that dental visits can sometimes be intimidating. Our friendly and supportive staff create a welcoming atmosphere, making your experience with us pleasant and stress-free.

Conclusion: At St. Paul’s Dental Practice, we believe that everyone deserves a smile they can be proud of. Our comprehensive range of dental services, combined with our experienced team and patient-centred approach, makes us the ideal choice for all your dental needs.

Patient Safety

As we head in to Autumn, we will continue to be vigilant of Coronovirus cases, and respond to the region’s infection rates accordingly, to keep our staff and patients safe.

We currently have an open door, are not insisting on the wearing of masks but continue to encourage hand sanitisation and social distancing within the building.

If you prefer to wait for your appointment outside, there is ample free space and seating in the front garden.

We will continue to screen for COVID symptoms on arrival and request that you do not attend if you are feeling unwell or have been in close contact with someone with Coronavirus.

It is advisable to postpone routine appointments if there is a chance you have COVID and if you need emergency treatment, provisions can be made for this to take place whilst still ensuring the safety of everyone else.

Patient Safety has always been at the forefront of our care standards as our Charter demonstrates.

You can be assured we have your best interests at heart whilst attending this Dental Practice.

If you would like to know more about our Health and Safety Policies, we would be happy to discuss this with you.

And so it goes on!

As a health care setting and in order that we can continue to provide essential dental treatment safely to a high number of patients, we are obliged to continue to follow government and professional regulatory organisations’ recommended operating procedures during the ongoing pandemic.

Which basically means our COVID management plan has not changed since we re-commenced face to face appointments in June 2020.

We still require visitors to be screened before entering the building; face masks to be worn; social distancing to be maintained and  hands to be sanitised frequently. We continue to control the flow of people through the building with a closed door and will make use of the garden waiting area as long as the weather permits.

Additional measures for keeping the Practice COVID free reduces the number of people we can see in a day and the duration of the pandemic is responsible for us experiencing a high volume of patients with dental problems requiring treatment.

We are still prioritising appointments for patients with problems and those at risk of deteriorating oral health without our intervention but are also gradually working through the backlog of patients overdue their ‘check-up’.

We have managed to see 68% of patients on our database face to face since the start of the pandemic. We are incorporating a dental examination into all appointments, so even if you attend for an emergency, we will do all we can to meet all your dental needs in one appointment, in case it’s a while before we see you again.

If you haven’t yet been contacted to book a ‘check up’, you should hear from us soon but this relies on us having up to date contact information for you. Please let us know if you have moved, changed your phone, email etc.

If you have any concerns about your teeth or oral health, contact us straight away. If you feel ok and on top of your oral hygiene then please be patient and we will get to you as soon as we can.

 

We are grateful for your ongoing support and welcome any comments you may have about the service we provide and we look forward to seeing you all next year in 2022.

Still far from normal!

Still far from normal as we enter our second year dealing with the Coronavirus pandemic.

So what exactly is the state of play at your Dental surgery? You are sure to be asking, especially if you are amongst the remaining 60% of patients who have yet to see us and experience our COVID management strategy.

Public Health England and The Federation of General Dental Practitioners give us very clear, reasonable recommendations for best practice during these unprecedented times, adapting their advice to follow the path of the pandemic and level of risk.

We are continuing to follow what we consider the correct course of action and details of our additional measures to keep patients and staff safe whilst attending the Practice can be found on our website.

https://www.stpaulsdentalpractice.co.uk/routine-appointments.html

On a positive note, we are grateful to the NHS for providing us with the additional PPE required to continue to provide all dental treatments whilst our usual supplier costs were soaring, sometimes as much as 1000% and thankful that following our strict protocol of infection prevention our team have remained fit and well.

The downside to the current way of working is the need for additional staff for the additional measures and extended appointment times to allow for fallow time between patients, hand scaling to avoid aerosol generating equipment or treatment techniques and additional sanitisation of clinical areas.

As a result, we just can’t see as many patients a day as usual and there is great speculation in the press about how long it will take for us to catch up and routine dentistry resume.

Despite these difficulties and constraints, we absolutely guarantee to maintain a high level of service. If you need to see us for a dental problem or are concerned about not having been seen for a very long time, we will book you an appointment. During your appointment, you can expect to receive all the necessary measures to restore or maintain your oral health, including:

  • a thorough clinical examination of your mouth, gums, teeth, jaw, bite
  • a review of your general health
  • x-rays, hygiene advice and treatment as required
  • head, neck and oral screening for mouth cancer
  • any dental treatment required, fillings, crowns, repairs etc
  • referral to other services where necessary, such as orthodontics or hospital services.

We will try to address all your dental needs in as few visits as possible, time permitting.

We have added some great people to our team this year to facilitate the smooth running of the Practice. Ellen joined us in January, an experienced, qualified Dental Nurse. Tariq joined us mid-May, as an Associate Dentist and able replacement for Neil Black, who retired at the end of last year. And just this week, Sammy has taken up the post of trainee and is learning the ropes initially to support the admin team.

Please keep your contact details up to date, get in touch if you need any advice (we guarantee any question answered) and give us feed back, good or bad to help shape our service for the future.

Update from your Dental Team at St. Paul’s Dental Practice.

To our valued patients,

Although COVID 19 still has a firm grip on our lives, during this Lockdown we have been able to remain OPEN because of the extensive special measures we have in place, the details of which can be found on our website.

We remain committed to maintaining a safe environment for our staff and all our patients that need to attend for an appointment.

Our priority is to see anyone with a dental problem, so if you have any concerns please don’t hesitate to contact us.

For safety reasons we are continuing to limit the number of people within the Practice at any one time. This naturally affects the number of available appointments and as a result, all routine ‘check-up’ appointments remain cancelled until the situation is much improved.

We are all too aware how long it has been since many of you were seen here and we hope to catch up with you soon. Meanwhile, remember we are the most knowledgeable professionals when it comes to looking after teeth and gums and have really good resources to share with you. We are here to answer your questions and give advice by phone, email or remote consultation and can post any dental care products to help with your daily oral care routine.

For up-to-date information please visit our Facebook page and website regularly or if you can’t find what you are looking for, contact us and your query will be directed to your Dentist, Hygienist, Oral Health Educator or Treatment Co-ordinator.

Help us to keep in touch with you by updating your contact details should they change. Contacting you by email is preferable to us. If you have not already done so, please provide us with your email address. We will only use email for the purpose of providing optimum dental healthcare and sending important Practice updates to you. You may opt out of receiving emails or texts from us, by informing us at any time.

Contacts: Phone 01626 365896

Email info@stpaulsdentalpractice.co.uk

Website www.stpaulsdentalpractice.co.uk

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/stpaulsdental

We truly appreciate your patience and understanding during these difficult times and we value your feedback at any time.

We’ve come a long way this year as 2020 draws to a close!

Who could have predicted at the start of 2020 what a turmoil the COVID pandemic would throw us into? It really is unprecedented when the Government tells you to stop what you are doing, send your staff home and close your door!

When this happened on March 25th, our diary was full of patient appointments, with 3; 6; 9 and 12 monthly recalls, booked right the way through to 2021. All this went by the wayside like so many other well-laid plans and through implementing all the best practice, professional guidelines in order to safely re-open in June, it became evident that the rest of 2020 would be taken up with only seeing a fraction of our database of patients, those who needed urgent dental care!

It was extremely frustrating and demoralising for our Dentists not to be able to see anyone during the first Lockdown and have limited resources to deal with patients’ problems but I’m sure it was reassuring to you all, that there was at least a familiar voice on the end of the phone, as they shared amongst themselves the ‘on call’ responsibility each week.

For Nick, this wasn’t enough and he very quickly volunteered to assist at the Urgent Dental Care Hub in Torquay, about the only place at the time able to see patients face to face.

It is worth considering some additions to your first aid kit, should you find yourself without access to a Dentist again, maybe if travelling or working away for any length of time. Most items are available from chemists, supermarkets or online and like most things nowadays, you can even access great YouTube videos of how to apply them.

    • Temporary filling material. If you lose a filling, you want to plug the hole quickly. It’s a paste-like material that fills the hole and helps provide relief from sensitivity and harmful bacteria.
    • Dental wax. A soft material that can be used to temporarily cover sharp surfaces inside your mouth, such as broken teeth, orthodontic wires. (The wax surrounding cheese can also be useful)
    • Vaseline. To temporarily attach a crown, it’s easier to clean off than adhesives. Just fill the crown, pop it on, and the gel makes a seal that holds it temporarily in place.
    • Floss: Food stuck between teeth can definitely cause a great deal of pain and damage.
    • Nail file. Can be used to smooth over the sharp edge of a broken tooth and save your tongue, cheeks from damage and ulcers.

During the first Lockdown we dealt with 350 people in trouble and as soon as we were allowed to re-open we got to work, booking appointments for these people and catching up with all the others whose treatment had been put on hold due to COVID.

The way we operate has completely changed, with additional measures in place to keep everyone safe here at St. Paul’s, details of which can be found under ‘The patient journey during COVID 19’ https://www.stpaulsdentalpractice.co.uk/routine-appointments.html

With so many restrictions in place, we have worked hard to get as many people through the door as possible since June. We have prioritised those with urgent treatment needs and those who are at risk of deteriorating oral health if not seen, covering all age ranges.

Our team has worked without a single moan or winge, despite additional working pressure, the constraints of wearing additional PPE, tighter regulations to follow and all without the usual rewards of social gatherings, team building days or even just all being able to sit down together and relax.

We were grateful to have the added support of Nichola, who joined our team in June this year and we are yet to see what she really looks like behind the mask.

Despite our best efforts, since re-opening we have only managed to see about 25% of all our patients! We are fully aware how many of you have missed out on your routine appointments and we hope with the news of vaccinations becoming available, there will be some point in the not too distant future that we will be able to open all our surgeries and recommence normal appointments.

Meanwhile, we will continue to keep in touch as best we can, by newsletters, social media, texts, emails and through our website.

In addition, Anna one of our Oral Health Educators has created some videos of oral health care advice which you can find on YouTube  https://www.youtube.com/c/StpaulsdentalpracticeUk/videos

If you want to hear from us, keep your contact details up to date and inform us if there are any changes.

Contact us by email info@stpaulsdentalpractice.co.uk; our webform or phone 01626 365896. We are here to answer any dental concerns you have and see you when necessary.

Remember now more than ever how important your daily oral care routine is as well as checking regularly for any changes in your mouth, being vigilant for signs of mouth cancer. https://www.dentalhealth.org/

Don’t forget, we stock a good range of all the Dental Care Products you will need for your home routine and these can be paid for by phone and posted out to you, without the need to leave your home.

Our Christmas opening times are listed on our website and a recorded message will be available on our phones, with details of when we are there or when to call the ‘out of hours’ service. https://www.stpaulsdentalpractice.co.uk/find-dentists-devon.html

We very much look forward to seeing you in 2021 and would like to wish all our valued patients a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

A reason to be cheerful.

Something to smile about.
Just to reassure you all, that despite the recent raising of the National Coronavirus alert level back to level 4, there will be no reduction in the service we are currently providing to patients.
With the measures we have in place, St Paul’s Dental Practice continues to be a safe place for all patients, staff and visitors.
We are continuing to arrange appointments for anyone requiring treatment or with any dental concerns.
We have a very long list to get through, for those we feel are particularly at risk of deteriorating oral health if not seen.
Routine examinations remain cancelled and we know this means many of you haven’t seen us in a very long time! We appreciate your patience during this time.
If you are lucky enough not to have any dental issues, please sit tight until we can restart routine appointments. Revisit our Website or Facebook page for up to date news and please continue to take good care of your mouth, teeth and gums.
Maintaining a thorough, twice daily oral care routine is essential and remember to look out for any changes or anything unusual.

We would like to emphasise that if you have any concerns, please contact us by phone 01626 365896 or email info@stpaulsdentalpractice.co.uk or through our website www.stpaulsdentalpractice.co.uk

Take care, stay safe.