Dealing With Nervous Patients The Modern Way

As a popular Southampton dentist, we see many patients over the course of a week, some of whom suffer from dental anxiety. We understand that many of the fears associated with a visit to the dentist can be both deep rooted and varied, and for this reason we employ a number of techniques to help the patient feel relaxed, so that we can give them the best possible care and treatment.

We practice ‘gentle dentistry’

Southampton dentistWe strongly believe that how we treat our patients is as important as our technical abilities. For this reason we continually refine our approaches to avoid placing undue levels of stress and anxiety on any patients. Dental wands, numbing gels, and air abrasion techniques all help to deliver gentle pain-free dentistry, while simple behavioral management techniques help the patient to remain relaxed and calm throughout the treatment.

We pride ourselves on excellent customer experience

It’s pretty daunting for any customer to walk into a dental clinic or see a new dentist for the first time, but even more so when you’re an anxious or nervous patient. For this reason our whole customer experience is about making you feel welcome. Our reception area for example is comfortable and relaxing with magazines and tea or coffee on hand if you wish. Our staff are friendly and sensitive to your needs, and the dental areas are bright, modern, and non-intimidating.

We minimise dental anxiety with technique

Dr Thomas Darling and the team pride themselves on developing rapports with all of their patients. Having fully understood the needs, requirements, and fears of our patients, the team deliver a treatment plan based around each individual. For instance, rather than rushing the treatment of an anxious patient our team allows them to relax fully before explaining exactly what we’re going to do. This includes how they should feel during the treatment and why they should feel relaxed and confident that they’re in safe hands.

On the whole we believe that addressing the needs of anxious patients is crucial because neglected teeth and gums through not visiting the dentist will have harmful effects not just on your their health but their overall health too. This is why we offer the best possible care for anxious/nervous patients.

If you’re an anxious patient but really need to visit a Southampton dentist then come and talk to Smilemakers. To find out more about how we can help you simply visit our website at or to make an appointment contact us on 02380 44 26 26. Don’t let your dental issues worsen because of your fears!

4 Top Tips To Maintaining A Young And Beautiful Smile

As a Southampton dentist we find that cosmetic procedures such as smile makeovers are becoming increasingly popular as more and more people are looking to bring back their beautiful smile. However, if you’re already blessed with a great looking smile and really want to keep it that way then you might want to follow these 4 top tips.

Limit tooth fractures

Southampton dentistDid you know that tooth fractures are the third leading cause of tooth loss in the world today? The culmination of people living longer coupled with rising stress levels often cause teeth grinding or clenching known as bruxism. Unfortunately teeth grinding is a major cause of teeth fractures and around 10% of the UK population is thought to suffer from it. In many cases bruxism can be prevented simply by adopting a healthy lifestyle. By eating foods that are good for you, taking regular exercise, maintaining good sleeping patterns, and adopting relaxation techniques it’s possible to alleviate bruxism and therefore limit tooth fractures.

Attend regular check-ups at all costs

When you’re younger it’s easy to think that your teeth are healthy so there’s no real need to attend dental check-ups regularly. This may be the case but the focus of a dental check-up is on prevention rather than cure. It’s all about fine-tuning your mouth making sure your teeth remain in great condition. For instance a professional clean performed by your hygienist will remove any calculus (tartar build up) that can’t be removed by normal brushing alone. If left, it can go on to cause major gum disease and in turn cause tooth problems further down the line.

Avoid amalgam fillings

Apart from looking unsightly, those old fashioned silver-style fillings (known as amalgam) experience a degree of expansion and contraction when confronted with hot and cold liquids. This can exacerbate cracking in the tooth. White composites on the other hand are tooth coloured, so not only do they look pretty natural but they also help to reinforce the tooth, thus limiting cracking.

Maintain or replace any old restorations

Over time restorations made to your teeth can experience wear and tear. When this happens they no longer do the job they were supposed to do. Aside from this, advancements in technology (take the case of amalgams vs white fillings) mean that newer restorations not only function better, they look better too. With this in mind ask your dentist about replacing any old-style restorations with their modern counterpart.

So there you have it, 4 top tips to retaining a beautiful smile!

If you feel that you’ve lost your sparkling smile and really want to get it back then help is at hand. At Smilemakers Dr Thomas Darling and the team have the ability to help you regain your smile. Using a whole host of treatments including dermal fillers, skin revitalising, teeth whitening, and a range of teeth and gum repairs we’ll see to it that you can smile again with confidence. Contact your friendly Southampton dentist on 02380 44 26 26 or visit our website at to find out more.

Do I Really Need To Bother With Regular Check ups

In our younger years especially, it’s fair to say that dental check-up’s can often seem like an inconvenience at best and total waste of money at worst. After all, you might be under the impression that there’s nothing wrong with your teeth so why should you pay for something that doesn’t need fixing?

Dr Thomas Darling a Southampton Dentist at Smilemakers explains.

Southampton DentistAs dentists we perform a lot of routine maintenance in order to prevent problems that occur when patients don’t look after their teeth as well as they’re supposed to. Let’s face it, how many of us religiously spend the allotted 3 minutes, two or three times a day, brushing our teeth. It’s all too easy when you’ve got more important things to do to give them a quick going over. Therefore regular check-up’s are a kind of safety net or backup that helps keep your teeth in good condition.

Aside from this, as dentists we’re trained to spot any anomalies or issues with your teeth that otherwise might go undetected. While these issues might seem minor now and are more often than not easily rectified, if you skip a visit or two, then there’s a strong chance that you may run into some very serious problems.

So what type of problems?


  • Periodontal disease
  • Tooth decay and
  • Gum disease.

Firstly it’s natural for the body to produce plaque which collects around the base of teeth and gums when we eat and drink. If it’s not dealt with through proper brushing and flossing, it transforms into tartar which can no longer be removed by brushing alone. If tartar is left it can cause periodontal disease which gradually and silently eats away at the bone tissue, eventually weakening otherwise healthy teeth.

The second type of problem is tooth decay. A small cavity is easily taken care of when spotted during a routine check-up. However if a cavity is allowed to escalate it can cause excruciating pain and eventually the loss of the tooth itself. You might feel that you can cope with the loss of one tooth, and indeed you probably can, but did you know that when a tooth is missing it sets off a catalyst of events that affect your remaining teeth and gums?

The final issue is gum disease. Did you know for instance that there’s a strong connection between heart related problems and gum disease? Plaque produces a multitude of bacteria, most of which end up in the bloodstream. Increased bacteria in the blood can (if not dealt with) clog blood vessels which surround the heart.

Next time you’re due a dental check-up, don’t look on it as an inconvenience, but rather as an MOT for your teeth. To book a check-up with your friendly Southampton dentist contact Smilemakers on 02380 44 26 26 or book online at

Why Adult Orthodontics Is On The Rise

Once it was the preserve of children and teenagers to wear braces to straighten their teeth but thanks to advances in modern dentistry, today’s generation of adults can benefit too. For whatever reason you may not have worn braces when you were a child and have grown up hating the way that your teeth look. Not so very long ago your Southampton dentist may have recommended capping your teeth in an effort to better align your teeth, but this would have meant some destruction of the teeth themselves. Today, we understand more about the benefits of conserving the structure of the teeth by trying to move them into the correct position and with the advent of clear and tooth coloured braces and aligners, it’s far more socially acceptable for adults to receive orthodontic treatment.

What’s different about adult cosmetic orthodontics?

Southampton dentistDentists understand that the idea of wearing metal tram lines across the front of the teeth would put off most adults from wearing them which is why cosmetic orthodontics concentrates primarily on straightening teeth which are at the front of the mouth using very discreet appliances. Treatments such as Invisalign use a series of transparent plastic aligners that fit over the teeth in a similar fashion to a bleaching tray and which are extremely difficult for the naked eye to detect. Using computer generated dental technology a mock-up of the patient’s mouth can be created from which a series of aligners can be crafted which gradually move the teeth gently into their correct position. A patient will wear each set of aligners for a couple of weeks, only removing them to eat and drink and to clean their teeth. Over a period of six to nine months, all the aligners will have been worn, leaving the patient with a beaming, straight smile.

Braces for everyone

There are a wide variety of braces to choose from for adults who are self conscious about anyone being able to see that they are undergoing orthodontic treatment. Some braces are hidden behind the teeth so that they are invisible and others are designed to work really quickly, often in six months or under. The amazing thing is that patients can visibly see their teeth begin to straighten and improve and since the braces are so discreet, they can carry on smiling throughout the treatment. Often our patients combine a tooth whitening treatment at the end of the orthodontic procedure and the results are pretty spectacular.

If you’re tired of hiding your smile and would like to learn more about adult orthodontics and find out how we can help, then why not call Smilemakers to book a complimentary consultation. We’re a general and cosmetic dentist in Southampton who take great pleasure in helping adults achieve the smile they’re always longed for. Call us today on 02380 442626 or visit our website at for more information on all our treatments and procedures. Dr Thomas Darling and the team look forward to welcoming you to the clinic.

Why Do I Need A Bone Graft Before Having A Dental Implant Placed?

If you’ve visited a Southampton dentist to attend an implant consultation then at some point in the conversation you may have heard the words “bone graft” mentioned, and quite understandably you may at this point have felt a little alarmed. The good news is that a bone graft is nowhere near as scary as it may sound and is a routine procedure which is often carried out prior to a dental implant.

What’s the reason for a bone graft?

Southampton dentistIf a dental implant is to be successful then it needs to be placed into sufficient healthy jawbone. This is necessary for the bone to fuse with the titanium implant so that it’s held securely in place and able to support the additional weight of a prosthetic crown. For patients who have suffered bone loss and don’t have sufficient bone, then one solution can be a bone graft.

Bone graft procedure

Bone grafting is quite straightforward and is only carried out once your dentist has determined that you don’t have the quality or quantity of bone that is required to give a dental implant its best chance of success.

To perform a bone graft a dentist will make an incision into the gum at the site of the intended bone graft and lift a flap of skin in order to expose the jaw bone. The bone graft material is then placed onto the site and covered with a protective membrane to protect it from germs and encourage the healing process. The flap of skin is then carefully replaced and the gum stitched back together. Healing time varies from one patient to another but generally takes around 4 months. You’ll likely be given a course of antibiotics to take for a few days following the graft and will be asked to use an antibiotic mouthwash to ensure the gum covering the bone graft remains healthy. Progress of the bone graft can be checked using X-rays to assess the width and height of the new bone and once it’s confirmed that there is now sufficient healthy bone, then the next stage of the dental implant can go ahead.

Where does the material for the bone graft come from?

In essence there are four choices for a bone graft: Autogeous – bone from the patient; Allograft – bone from another human (freeze dried and stored in a tissue bank); Xenograft – bone obtained from animals, usually bovine; Synthetic graft– mineral substitute. Typically bone taken from the patient gives the best results.

If you’re considering a dental implant in Southampton then why not book a free consultation with Smilemakers. We’re a busy dentist in Southampton with a team of highly trained implant dentists. Dr Thomas Darling will carry out a thorough examination and, in the event that you do need a bone graft will explain all the risks and benefits of each type of graft and answer any questions or concerns you may have. Call us today on 02380 442626 to start the ball rolling or check out our website at to find out more.

Who Can Benefit From Facial Aesthetics?

As a cosmetic dentist in Southampton, one of our most frequently requested treatments is Botox closely followed by Dermal Fillers. Some people may find it a little strange that many dentists are now offering facial aesthetic treatments but when you consider the extensive training that dentists undergo in facial anatomy and their ability to administer injections and work within a sterile environment at all times, then it makes complete sense.

cosmetic dentist in SouthamptonHere at Smilemakers we regard facial aesthetics as a natural progression to helping you look your best, after all we can give you a perfect smile, but think how much better you could look with a little help to smooth out fine lines and wrinkles to give you a more youthful look.

What exactly are facial aesthetics?

Botox is a very simple non-surgical treatment which can temporarily smooth out severe lines between the eyebrows, crows feet around the eyes, as well as fine lines around the lips and treatment will generally last for up to 6 months. Also used to help certain medical conditions Botox can be used to treat muscle spasms, teeth grinding, migraines, and jaw tension.


Dermal fillers are used to enhance, correct, or add volume to the skin, giving it a more youthful and radiant appearance. It can lift up the corners of lips, treat scars and contour the jaw line amongst other things.

Benefits of choosing your Southampton Dentist for Dermal Fillers and Botox

  • More highly trained and knowledgeable in facial and oral-facial areas than other health care professionals
  • Highly experienced in giving intra-oral injections
  • Able to offer completely painless treatments
  • Trained and accredited using latest techniques such as Juvederm and Botox
  • Extensive knowledge of dynamics of facial muscle expressions
  • Ability to consider facial proportions prior to augmentation to achieve best results
  • Cosmetic treatment can be fitted in during regular dental visits

Who can benefit from facial aesthetics?

  • Men or women showing early signs of ageing
  • Patients who don’t want to undergo plastic surgery but want similar results

If you’re interested in learning more about facial aesthetics and whether it can be of benefit to you then why not call Smilemakers today on 02380 442626 to schedule a free consultation. Or feel free to visit our website at where you’ll find more information on all the treatments and services that we provide.

Beware Of Hidden Sugar In Your Diet

Sugar is the No.1 enemy when it comes to attacking teeth and sometimes it isn’t until your dentist in Southampton tells you that you have a decaying tooth which needs filling, that you know anything about it. The thing is, many of the foods we eat are full of hidden sugars and all of us need to take more responsibility for what we’re putting into our mouths if we want to keep our teeth for longer.

As sugar consumption increases so do cavities

dentist in SouthamptonBacteria feeds off sugar that clings to the teeth, and in doing so this produces an acid which attacks tooth enamel and begins to wear it away. Recent studies carried out by the World Health Organisation in 2014 confirm the fact that as sugar consumption increases so too does the amount of cavities. These same studies also show that increased levels of sugar can raise the risk of heart disease and diabetes. As a result the World Health Organisation recommends that sugar consumption be cut by as much as 50% meaning that the calorific intake should be 5% or less of an individual’s daily diet. According to the most recent figures available in the UK the average daily percentage of sugar (not natural sugars already in food) equates to 14.7% for children, 15.6% for adolescents, and 12.1% for adults.

So how can you cut back on sugar?

As well as eating less sweets, it’s important to be aware of hidden sugars in your every day diet. Even so called ‘nutritional food’ can be crammed with sugar. One way is to check food labels before buying a product. Just to confuse matters, sugar is called various names including:

  • Corn syrup, Malt and Dextrose
  • Sorghum Syrup
  • Molasses and Maltose

In addition beware of any ingredients ending in “sugar”, “-ose” and “syrup” as these are all alternative names for sugar.

Other top tips for cutting back on sugar

  • Cook more food at home from scratch so you know exactly what’s contained in your food
  • Reduce your intake of cereal bars, fruit juices, soft drinks, yoghurt and sugary breakfast cereals
  • Eat more healthy food since a healthy diet means a healthy mouth

You don’t have to stop eating sugar completely in order to benefit from a healthy lifestyle and healthy teeth and this is why it’s so important to incorporate a regular brushing and flossing routine into your day as well as attending regular six monthly check ups with your Southampton dentist. Here at Smilemakers, Dr Thomas Darling is keen to help you have a healthier and happier lifestyle. So, if you’ve any questions or concerns about your oral health then please get in touch with us by calling 02380 442626 and booking a reduced price new patient examination. For more information on the treatments we provide then visit our website at

How Can I Ensure My Dental Implants Are Long Lasting?

When it comes to replacing missing teeth then dental implants are commonly regarded as the best option. Not only do they look totally natural but since they replicate all the parts of a missing tooth, including the root, they act and feel just like the real thing, and if cared for properly have been proven to last for at least 40 years.

Southampton dentistWhile dental implants have a great many benefits to offer, one of their downsides is their cost, which doesn’t come cheap, so it stands to reason that if you’re considering what is a substantial amount of money in most people’s book, then you want to know ways of making sure that your implants last for some considerable time.

Success of a dental implant

As a Southampton dentist we’ve placed many implants in our time and will only carry out an implant if we consider the chances of success are high. In order to be considered for dental implants we’ll first need to carry out a thorough examination of your mouth and jaw, take some X-rays and look closely at your dental and medical history. Your eligibility will be ascertained by how successful we consider the procedure will be. Since dental implants involve a surgical procedure, should you have problems with healing, then in most cases we would suggest alternative methods of tooth replacement. Other issues which could affect healing following surgery include:



Gum disease

Autoimmune diseases

This isn’t to say that you can’t have dental implants and all cases will be looked at individually. However, if we feel that you would be a good candidate then the success rate is likely to be around 95-98%.

It’s also an important requirement that you have sufficient bone in your jaw to support an implant. The bone actually bonds with the titanium post which is inserted into your jaw bone and this provides a stable platform on which to fix prosthetic teeth. It also puts an end to any further bone loss which may have occurred.

Long term success

To keep your implants healthy, it’s vital to follow post op instructions and thereafter to care for your implants as you would your natural teeth. It’s critical to maintain good levels of oral hygiene and to keep your gums healthy and free from plaque. It’s also important to maintain the health of your remaining teeth. Adopt a routine of regular brushing and flossing, both between your natural teeth and around the abutments which hold your prosthetic teeth in place. By making this kind of care an everyday habit it will prevent gum disease which can endanger implants, and stop your other teeth from decaying.

You must schedule regular appointments with your cosmetic dentist in Southampton too so that he can check on progress and ensure there are no problems or signs of gum disease. Should you develop gum disease this can seriously impact on your implants and may even lead to them loosening and falling out.

If you’re considering dental implants in Southampton or would like to know more about them, then why not call Smilemakers on 02380 442626 to book a consultation. We can answer all of your questions and concerns and determine if implants are right for you. For more information on all the treatments we offer visit our website at

Smile Please!

Just two little words “smile please” and while many of us are more than happy to turn on a smile for the camera there are many more that aren’t. Take one of the most important days in a person’s life for example – their wedding day. Just imagine how many times they and their guests could be hearing those words as the wedding photographer goes all out to create a fairy tale wedding album that will be cherished in years to come. As a cosmetic dentist in Southampton, one of our most popular treatments is teeth whitening and it’s requested for a number of different reasons. All brides want their wedding day to be perfect and ensuring that they have a healthy white smile for their special day is often high on the agenda. Tooth whitening is one of the most dramatic ways of improving a smile and is simple, fast, and cost effective. The treatment causes no pain and is safe and long lasting.

Other treatments we provide (not just for a special day) include:

Clear braces

cosmetic dentist in SouthamptonWe’ve also been approached by several ‘mothers of the bride’ who have been prompted into getting their misaligned teeth straightened for the big day. Often, these are ladies who for whatever reason didn’t wear a brace when they were younger and as they got older were reluctant to entertain the thought of metal braces. The good news is that thanks to modern dental technology we can now offer a wide range of alternatives to metal braces such as clear braces and aligners. Not only are these devices discreet and virtually invisible, but they also work much faster than traditional braces, which means that the bride’s mother could have straight teeth in as little as 3-6 months.


Veneers are an alternative to teeth whitening and in some instances, provided misalignment is only minor, they can be used in place of orthodontic treatment. A patient’s teeth can be whitened first to remove any staining and then the veneers can be colour matched so that they blend in seamlessly. Likened to a false nail, they’re extremely thin layers of porcelain which fit over the entire tooth and can be used to hide badly stained teeth, cracks, and chips as well as correct small gaps between teeth and align teeth which are slightly out of position.

If you’re looking to have your teeth whitened for a special occasion or you feel it’s the right time to address the issue of a crooked smile, then as a general and cosmetic dentist in Southampton, we’d be delighted to help. Why not give Smilemakers a call on 02380 442626 and arrange a consultation with Dr. Thomas Darling and he’ll talk you through your options. We’ll soon get you smiling!

Uncovering 3 Dental Myths That May Be Damaging Your Teeth

Could you be doing certain things which unbeknown to you are damaging your teeth? Several common theories and notions which are widely believed to be true by many people, could be having a negative impact on your dental health which in the long run could lead to gum disease and tooth loss. Even though oral healthcare is more widely accessible than ever before, many people still cling to notions which they believe to be right when it comes to what is healthy for teeth and gums and what isn’t. As a Southampton dentist, we believe in dental education for all our patients which is why we’re using this blog to dispel 3 of the most common myths which could be causing damage to your teeth and gums. So let’s take a look:

  • cosmetic dentist in SouthamptonA visit to the dentist is only necessary if you have toothache – You’d be surprised how many people believe that if they’re not suffering any pain from their teeth, then their oral hygiene must be up to speed, and why should they bother to visit a dentist. The thing is, tooth pain is often an advanced indication that there is a problem and by this time, the damage could be so extensive that the only solution is extraction. Patients can still develop common conditions without there being any obvious symptoms which is why we recommend regular six monthly check-ups so that any problems can be diagnosed in their early stages and treated right away.
  • Brushing and flossing should be stopped if your gums bleed – If you notice blood when you brush your teeth or floss, then we understand how you could think the best thing to do is to stop brushing since it may be doing more harm than good to your gums. However, this notion is totally false. While you should be brushing at least twice a day using a soft toothbrush and flossing between your teeth once day, you should never stop just because your gums are bleeding. This is a sign that your gums are inflamed and possibly irritated by plaque and tartar. If you notice bleeding then continue as usual with brushing and flossing but make an appointment with your dentist for a check-up as quickly as you can.
  • White teeth are healthy – Although most of associate brilliant white teeth with a healthy smile and good oral health, this is not always the case. Although white teeth certainly look attractive it doesn’t necessarily mean they are healthy. The reason for this is that many oral conditions such as infections or tooth decay don’t produce signs which are clearly visible. For example, your teeth could be moderately infected but still look white and healthy. For this reason, it’s important to attend regular check-ups with your dentist in Southampton.

If you haven’t had a dental check-up recently then perhaps it’s time you did. Don’t worry we aren’t here to judge but we are here to help get your oral hygiene back on track. If you live in or around Southampton, then why not give Smilemakers a call today on 02380 442626 and book a consultation with Dr, Thomas Darling. We’re a general and cosmetic dentist in Southampton who are committed to providing friendly dental care for all your family.