Can Anyone Have Dental Implants?

As a cosmetic dentist in Southampton we’re seeing more and more patients enquiring about dental implants to replace their missing teeth and one of the most commonly asked questions is whether anyone can have dental implants. Generally speaking any adult who has lost a tooth or teeth could be considered a possible candidate for a dental implant but whether or not it is a suitable option for them depends on a number of factors.

cosmetic dentist in SouthamptonDental implants aren’t for everyone which is why we ask patients to attend an initial consultation to meet Dr Thomas Darling and the team so that their case can be assessed and a decision made. A thorough oral examination will need to be carried out, medical history delved into, and X-rays taken to check for suitability. It also gives patients a chance to voice their concerns and get any questions answered before deciding whether to go ahead. We take candidate suitability very seriously since it can make all the different to implant success.

Oral surgery is required in order to place dental implants and just as with any type of surgery there are those who would not be suited to surgery. To be be considered eligible for dental implants a patient needs to have:

  • Sufficient jawbone – Since a dental implant needs to fuse with the bone in the jaw, then it is essential that there is a good supply of healthy bone in that area. Failure to bond with the jaw in a process known as osseointegration is one of the main reasons for implant failure. If a patient doesn’t have sufficient bone then it may be possible to carry out a bone graft prior to surgery. If you’ve lost a tooth, then it’s important to replace it as soon as possible since the jawbone gradually starts to deteriorate following the loss of a tooth.
  • No gum disease – Any dentist in Southampton will tell you that gum disease is deadly to teeth and is the main cause of tooth loss. It can also pose a high threat to dental implants and is often the cause of implant failure. Therefore, if a patient has gum disease then this will have to first be treated before dental implant surgery could be considered.
  • Good overall health – Being fit and healthy will assure your dentist and oral surgeon that you can handle the treatment as well as any complications or risks associated with implant surgery. If you have a chronic illness such as diabetes or leukaemia or have undergone radiation treatment in the jaw or neck area, then you may not be considered suitable. Smokers too, may be asked to quit for several weeks prior to surgery and for the duration of the healing time, as smoking is known to interfere with the healing process.

If you’re interested in learning more about dental implants and whether they are for you, then why not contact Smilemakers, your local Southampton dental clinic, on 02380 442626 and book your free cosmetic consultation. Alternatively, you can find out more information on our website at

Why Visit A Hygienist?

Some people who regularly attend six monthly check ups with their Southampton dentist may wonder why they need bother with making a separate appointment with the hygienist. Dental hygienists are an important part of any dental team and are specially trained to give additional care to patients. Their main role is to educate patients about preventative dental care and to treat gum disease, by showing them the correct way to care for their teeth at home. They’re also there to advice on all matters to do with oral health. Their job role can be divided into 4 main categories which are designed to help each and every patient, so why not read on to see how you can benefit.

Southampton dentist1. Giving advice on oral hygiene

  • Showing a patient an effective brushing technique which will remove plaque without damaging tooth enamel or causing gums to recede
  • Advising on the best way to clean in between the teeth and what aids to use
  • Discussing tried and tested oral products, as well as those products new to the market.

2. Helping you to have a clean and healthy mouth

Polishing your teeth to remove stains from food and drink

Helping improve gums to turn them from red and inflamed to healthy pink

Preventing gums from bleeding when brushing

Preventing bad breath and unpleasant taste in the mouth caused by bacteria

Preventing teeth from loosening and drifting

3. Preventing and treating periodontal disease

  • Explaining just what periodontal disease is; secondary factors that can cause it, eg smoking and diabetes; how it can affect other health conditions such as heart disease
  • Giving detailed oral hygiene instructions
  • Removing plaque and tartar

4. Prevention of tooth decay and cavities

  • Discussing in detail why tooth decay and erosion occurs
  • Advising on using fluoride and sugar free chewing gum
  • Giving dietary advice with regard to cutting down intake of sugar and acidic food and drinks

Here at Smilemakers our hygienists are also qualified to administer local anaesthetics, seal children’s teeth and carry out tooth whitening. Always having time to answer your questions, we couldn’t be without them! If you’re looking for a friendly Southampton dental clinic with highly experienced dentists and a fantastic support team, then why not contact us on 02380 442626 or call in to see us. If you’re in need of tooth replacement, teeth straightening, or even fancy a smile makeover, then as a cosmetic dentist in Southampton, we can help in that respect too. Why not take a look at our website at to find out more.

3 Habits Which Will Help Protect Your Teeth

As a Southampton dentist we’re here to help our patients achieve a healthy looking smile which not only makes a person appear younger than their years but is also an indication that they’re in good overall health too.

We all tend to think of dull teeth being associated with old age, and it’s true that the enamel coating on teeth does darken over time.

Southampton dentistOne quick tip for those of a certain age is to cut back on habits such as smoking and drinking red wine and coffee to reduce staining on their teeth. However, even if you’re a model dental patient, there’s more to keeping a pretty, healthy smile than oral care. Here are 3 simple habits you may want to look at starting today:

1. Eat an apple a day

Not only does this habit keep the doctor away but according to Southampton cosmetic dentist, Dr Thomas Darling, it’s good for your teeth too. Crunchy foods such as celery, apples, and carrots help to scrub away stubborn stains the more you eat them, similar to your toothbrush. You may even visibly notice the cleansing effect, especially if you are a coffee drinker who wasn’t previously eating an apple every day. If you start to eat an apple between meals and don’t brush your teeth afterwards, then be sure to drink a glass of water to remove any acid, sugar, and plaque that it may have dislodged from your tooth enamel.

2. Boost calcium intake

Just as calcium is good for your bones so it’s good for your teeth too. According to a study carried out by The Dairy Council, a person who consumes 800mg a day has less chance of developing severe gum disease. The reason for this is that 99% of the calcium found in your body is contained in the bones and teeth. Dairy products such as milk, cheese, and yoghurt help to strengthen the jaw bone or alveolar, which helps to keep the teeth in place. It’s recommended that men and women under the age of 50 consume 1000 mg a day and those older than 51, should aim for 1200 mg a day. As an example, a small glass of milk, one yoghurt, or small piece of cheese, yields around 300mg each. If you struggle with eating dairy products, then you could take a calcium supplement instead.

3. Only eat carbs at mealtimes

Even carbs which aren’t especially sweet such as a whole wheat roll or a packet of crisps can be practically as damaging to your teeth (and your waistline) as a slice of chocolate cake, if you don’t take care. The reason for this is that all carbs break down into simple sugar which bacteria in the mouth turns into plaque, which is the main cause of gum disease and cavities. Carbohydrate based foods such as bread, crisps, and crackers, tend to be chewy with a texture that easily gets trapped in between teeth or below the gum line where bacteria can accumulate. The tip here is to limit your carbs to mealtimes rather than having them as a snack. When you eat a larger meal, the mouth produces more saliva which is the body’s way of washing away particles of food.

Get into the habits listed above and you can help keep protect your teeth between six monthly check-ups. If you’re looking for a dentist in Southampton, then why not contact Smilemakers. We’re here to help or advice you on anything to do with your oral care. Give us a call on 02380 442626 or check out our web site at where you’ll find a wealth of information on the treatment we provide and more besides.

The Mysterious Prognosis Of Dental Resorption

At Smilemakers most people come to see their Southampton dentist because of a problem that needs rectifying. The trouble is is that in some cases such as dental resorption there isn’t always an identifiable cause.

People spend a lot of energy in life trying to do the right thing. Whether this is exercising regularly, eating a well-balanced diet for weight control, following the rules of the road so as to avoid accidents, or maintaining good oral hygiene. Even so, illness, accidents, and misfortunes can occur without any real reason.

cosmetic dentist in SouthamptonTo this end there’s really nothing we can do except to minimise the risk of something happening. Unfortunately dental resorption is one of these ‘misfortunes’ that can occur without rhyme or reason.

Even though there’s much debate over the causes behind dental resorption there is of yet no definitive answer and this is why treatment is geared towards its cure rather than it’s prevention.

So what exactly is it?

Dental resorption is usually noticed when ongoing damage is occurring to the tooth that isn’t related to decay, or isn’t any kind or breakage. As a result the body simply begins to absorb the tooth root. There are two types of resorption and these are

  • Internal and
  • External resorption

Let’s take a quick look at both of these in turn

Internal resorption

With internal resorption the problems usually start from deep inside the tooth root and then work their way outwards. It can get to a point whereby the healthy part of the tooth believes it’s under attack and lays siege to the poorly tooth root. If not spotted and treated resorption will continue until the tooth can no longer be saved. What’s more it doesn’t stop there. Just as a rotten apple in a fruit bowl will affect nearby healthy pieces of fruit, resorption can easily spread to other nearby teeth and gums.

External resorption

External issues are a little more complex to deal with than internal resorption because problems start on the outside of the tooth root in multiple places and work their way inwards. These areas include..

Where the tooth root meets the gum line

The very tip of the tooth root or

Somewhere in the middle of the root

As with any type of resorption there is generally no pain, and in some cases, no obvious signs. This is why regular visits to your Southampton dentist are key. When you visit your dental clinic as part of a six monthly check-up, X-rays should be taken at least every three years. If you do happen to be diagnosed with either internal of external resorption, then you’ll be pleased to know that there are a lot more effective treatments on the market now, making it a curable problem, if caught early enough. This is why regular dental visits are vital, even if you don’t feel you have any dental problems.

To book your six monthly check-up speak to Dr Thomas Darling and the team at Smilemakers. Aside from being your cosmetic dentist in Southampton we also deal in general dental treatments including regular check-ups. Contact us on 02380 442626 and feel safe in the knowledge that we’re watching out for your dental health.

The Costs of Dental Implants Explained

Here at Smilemakers we’re a highly experienced team of orthodontic and cosmetic dentists in Southampton dealing in a whole host of dental procedures including dental implants. For many people, when it comes to deciding whether or not they should opt for a dental implant procedure, it’s often the cost that tends to sway them towards other forms of tooth replacement. So why are they so expensive?

cosmetic dentists in SouthamptonIn essence it’s a culmination of factors including:

  • The cost of materials used in the implant itself
  • The experience of the surgeon needed to fit them
  • The running costs of state-of-the-art equipment needed to aid fitting

With this in mind, let’s take a closer look at these three criteria.

Cost of materials

The main component used in over 99% of all dental implants is titanium, yet because of the fact that it’s very difficult to extract from the ground, it’s also very expensive. So why use it? In essence it has a number of properties that makes this component the perfect material for dental implants. Firstly it’s incredibly lightweight, yet pound for pound it has the strength of low-grade stainless steel. Secondly, it’s non-corrosive and anti-allergenic, meaning it’s perfect for use in operative procedures (think hip replacements). Finally, the most persuasive argument for using titanium is that the body’s natural bone tissue will merge and fuse with it in a remarkable process known as osseointegration. This is vital to the success of the implant and is what makes the procedure so unique.

Time and experience of the dentist

Implant dentistry is a specialist area of dentistry. As such any successful implant dentist would have undergone years of intense training, which doesn’t come cheap and which some way or other has to be paid for. It goes without saying therefore that when a patient decides on a dental implant they’ll be paying for the services of a highly-skilled implant dentist and everything associated with that. Aside from this, in order to fit dental implants, it involves a series of surgical processes and fittings over a period of roughly 6-9 months. This ultimately means that a dentist is likely to spend many hours working with a patient to make sure that their implants remain in perfect condition for many years to come.

Equipment costs

In order to drastically reduce the risk of dental implant failure state-of-the-art equipment is often used. For example, 3D imaging machines can take a complete cross-section of a patient’s jaw to determine sufficient healthy bone and more importantly the depth of that bone. Laser guides are also used to plot the exact positioning of the implant before any surgery can take place; and finally computer aided design (CAD) is utilised to build a complete mock-up of a patient’s mouth so that dental crowns can be made to exact proportions to retain a truly natural appearance.

Finally, here’s one other thought! From an initial perspective then dental implants can seem expensive. However, if you consider that they are the most life-like, hassle-free and indeed permanent form of tooth replacement that modern dentistry has, then the long term benefits that they bring to a patient, could just as easily be portrayed as a great investment.

If you want to find out more about dental implants or any other methods of orthopaedic or cosmetic dentistry in Southampton then come and speak to Dr Thomas Darling and the team at Smilemakers. Contact us on 02380 442626 and let us put a smile on your face. Alternatively, read more about all the treatments that we offer by visiting our website at

Is A Smile Makeover The Right Option For You?

A smile makeover is one of the services that many a skilled cosmetic dentist in Southampton will offer and for a vast majority of patients, great looking teeth are not the only benefit that such a procedure can bring. It can also have a huge positive impact on a patient’s confidence and self-esteem.

cosmetic dentist in SouthamptonDid you know that on average around 75% of people who have had their photo taken are not happy with their smile. What’s more, many people who experience problem or missing teeth are invariably deeply embarrassed about it and in some cases will withdraw from social situations altogether so that they don’t have to speak or smile. For this reason a full smile makeover seems the obvious choice; but is it the right option for you?

It’s important to note that the term ‘smile makeover’ isn’t just one procedure but instead it’s made up of a whole series of orthodontic and cosmetic procedures depending upon the patient’s needs and requirements. These can include, but are not limited to

  • Dental implants
  • Crowns
  • Veneers
  • Composite fillings
  • Laser gum contouring

As well as a whole host of cosmetic procedures including

  • Teeth whitening
  • Dermal fillers
  • Botox
  • Skin revitalising

Therefore for one patient, a smile makeover might simply entail a course of teeth whitening for anyone searching for that perfect looking smile, whereas for another, it might include a whole series of lengthy orthodontic and cosmetic procedures to get the desired results that the patient wants. In other words for some it might be a quick-fix solution, but for others it might involve a lengthy process that could take months. This is something that people might need to bear in mind.

Here at Smilemakers Dr Thomas Darling and the team always begin the procedure by looking into the individual’s overall oral health and addressing any pre-existing conditions first. After this we’ll listen carefully to what you want and then suggest a treatment, or a series of procedures tailored just for you.

The good news is that you no longer have to suffer with a smile you aren’t happy with. Let our team of cosmetic and orthodontic Southampton dentists put it right. Why not contact us today on 02380 442626 to book an appointment and achieve the smile you’ve always dreamed of. To read more about all the treatments that we offer you can also visit our website at

Just How Serious Is Teeth Grinding And What Can Be Done About It?

If you’ve been to a Southampton dentist recently and been told that you may be suffering from bruxism, you’re probably not alone. Although a paucity of studies have yet to show how many people suffer from teeth grinding in the UK, most dentists will agree that it’s on the rise. In fact some dental clinics have seen a 20% rise in cases in the last few years alone.

More commonly known as teeth grinding, the cause is by no means certain but it’s thought to be linked to stress, although psychological issues, poor diet and sleep problems have also been noted as possible causes.

Teeth GrindingMuch of it occurs at night when the sufferer is asleep, so chances are that they don’t realise they’re doing it until the dentist spots it. That said, more often than not it’s irate partners that are the first to discover it as they are awoken by a noise that can only be described as a “concrete mixer, travelling down a blackboard!”

So what damage can bruxism cause?

In essence bruxism has both short-term and long-term effects, most of which can make the sufferer feel pretty miserable.

Short term effects include

Headaches – Did you know that bruxism sufferers are 3 times more likely to develop headaches?

Ear ache

Aching jaw and facial muscles otherwise known as facial myalgia

Sleep disruption, both of the sufferer and the bed partner

Tightness or stiffness in the shoulders

Reddened or receding gums

Sensitive teeth

The long-term effects include

  • Extreme tooth wear and breakage
  • Tempromandibular Joint Disorder (TMJD)
  • Cranofacial pain

Can it be treated?

In essence yes it can. That said, it’s important first of all to ‘flesh out’ the root cause of the problem and deal with that first. In many cases the answer might lie in behavioural approaches such as hypnosis, relaxation techniques and even regression therapy. For others it’s about managing stress, tackling sleep apnoea and even simple adjustments such as leading a more healthy lifestyle.

Night guards

Night guards otherwise known as bite guards, bite plates or occlusal splints are (as the name suggests) generally worn at night. They’re specifically designed to prevent inadvertent tooth movement, so for the sufferer it means that they can sleep soundly without fear of causing further damage to their teeth. For the bed partner it’s great news too because they can now get a good night’s sleep. It is worth pointing out that night guards aren’t a treatment in themselves, but are most effective when used in conjunction with the methods above.

For those who have suffered damaged teeth through teeth grinding there are many orthodontic and cosmetic procedures that can be carried out to help restore your teeth. Here at Smilemakers we’re a orthodontic and cosmetic dentist in Southampton and have been treating all types of teeth problems for many years. Why not act now and give Dr Thomas Darling and the team a call on 02380 44 26 26. and put bruxism behind you once and for all. To read more about all the treatments that we offer why not visit our website at

Smile Please!

Have you ever been in the position of being asked to smile for the camera and found yourself grimacing more than smiling for fear of showing teeth which are yellowish in colour and stained? Are you secretly a little jealous of friends who have dazzling white smiles and wish that could be you? The trouble is the Great British love for coffee, tea and curry doesn’t exactly help and is one of the contributing factors, along with age, for the stained teeth that you see when you look in the mirror.

Cosmetic dentistryThere are a plethora of tooth whitening systems available online and in your local chemist or supermarket which includes such things as whitening toothpastes, strips, and home kits, but to be perfectly frank, most of these are simply not that effective, and some which are particularly abrasive, can damage the enamel on your teeth. A tooth whitening process offered by any reputable cosmetic dentist such as Smilemakers in Southampton is the best way forward, and although it costs more than a DIY home kit, it’s safer, more effective and longer lasting.

Guarantees the whitest results

One of the whitening systems they provide is Enlighten Evolution which is a world leading system that has the potential to lighten the teeth to reach the whitest shade of white on the dentist’s tooth colour guide. Don’t worry that your teeth will look totally false like some of the celebrity “Hollywood smiles” that you see in magazines or on the TV. Instead your teeth will lighten to a shade which looks totally natural for your age and colouring.

How the system works?

Enlighten is a system which relies on the patient doing much of the work themselves in the comfort of their home. It begins with a visit to Smilemakers where an impression will be taken of your mouth so that a custom bleach tray can be made specifically for you. This can take a couple of weeks during which time you’ll be asked to brush twice a day with an Enlighten toothpaste which is given the name “tooth serum”. Containing hydroxypatite it helps protect the teeth, reduces sensitivity, and enhances the whitening results.

Once you receive your bleaching trays you’ll need to use the home whitening kit for 14 consecutive nights, wearing the trays on your teeth as well as continuing to brush with the serum. Once you’ve completed the 14 days you’ll attend one more appointment with Southampton dentist, Smilemakers for a short treatment lasting around 40 minutes. Don’t forget to take your trays with you! This gives a lift to the whitening and stabilises the color ensuring that it is even.

Top up when you like at home

The great thing about this particular whitening treatment is that you can top it up at home as and when required to retain the optimum level of whiteness. We recommend this system of whitening because the materials it uses are so sophisticated and yet it contains less hydrogen peroxide than many other whitening systems which require barriers to prevent the lips and gums from burning.

If you’d like to know more about teeth whitening treatments you can make an appointment with Smilemakers by calling the clinic on 02380 442626. They offer appointments to suit everyone, including evenings and Saturdays.

Tips On Keeping Your Teeth and Gums Healthy During Pregnancy

Congratulations on your pregnancy. Expecting a baby is an exciting time in your life and with so many things to plan, it’s not surprising that a visit to the dentist is often overlooked. It’s not uncommon for the rise in hormone levels to leave your gums red and tender or swollen and bleeding. These are all symptoms of what is known as pregnancy gingivitis and which can lead to other dental problems if not kept in check. It’s also been suggested that good oral health is important to your unborn baby as it is thought that periodontitis, a serious form of gum disease, could result in a premature birth and a low body weight.

cosmetic dentist in SouthamptonHere at Smilemakers we’re a Southampton dentist who firmly believe that it’s never too early to start with dental care even if your baby is still in the womb. Watching what you eat and following a balanced diet during your nine months of pregnancy, will not only keep you healthy and give your body all the nutrients it needs, but will also aid your unborn baby’s development including his or her teeth, so make sure you get plenty of calcium, vitamins A, C and D as well as phosphorous and proteins.

The best way to avoid gum problems is to keep on top of oral hygiene so we recommend that you book a visit to have your teeth thoroughly cleaned and any plaque removed. Other ways you can look after your teeth and gums at home include:

  • Brushing your teeth twice a day for at least two minutes. Ask your dentist or hygienist to show you the correct way to brush to remove plaque.
  • Floss between your teeth once a day to remove any trapped food particles and bacteria.
  • If you’re hungry between meals snack on healthy food such as salad vegetables like carrots, cucumber or celery, low fat yoghurt, fresh fruit, porridge with milk, vegetable soups and baked beans on toast. Avoid foods which are high in sugar such as chocolate, cakes and biscuits.
  • Avoid mouthwashes containing alcohol.
  • Stop smoking as this makes gum disease worse.
  • Avoid sugary drinks like fizzy pop and fruit juice.

If you’re pregnant or considering pregnancy you may wish to discuss any dental concerns with your dentist such as whether to delay any replacement fillings or cosmetic treatments. Smilemakers is a general and cosmetic dentist in Southampton providing care for all the family and we’d be delighted to include you too. Why not call us on 02380 442626 or visit our website at for further information.

A Patient’s Guide To Choosing A Cosmetic Dentist

Cosmetic dentistry has become increasingly popular and with so many dentists offering such treatments, choosing a cosmetic dentist in Southampton can be a daunting task. After all how do you know if you can trust them to do a good job and how do you know if they have the right training? Use the 10 pointers below to avoid any pitfalls and to help you choose a competent dentist who you feel at ease with and in safe hands. Above all, don’t be shy about asking any questions. Any reputable cosmetic dentist will be happy to answer your questions no matter how silly they may seem to you.

When speaking to a cosmetic dentist, they should:Cosmetic Dentist

  • Listen to how you would like your teeth to look
  • Answer your questions in simple language that is easy to understand
  • Be transparent and honest about what they can do for you
  • Discuss which treatments are best suited to you
  • Advise on what is the best treatment for your teeth and for your particular aesthetic goals
  • Tell you what treatment would be good for you and why
  • Be knowledgeable on all up to date treatments
  • Tell you just how long a treatment should take
  • Put in writing a treatment plan and pricing structure before you decide to go ahead
  • Advise you on how long any specific treatment is guaranteed and how to ensure the guarantee remains valid

Training and education

It’s important to know that although dental schools offer a good training in general dentistry most courses on cosmetic treatments are at a fairly basic level. A good cosmetic dentist should be regularly attending conferences, seminars and workshops so as to keep up to date with latest developments, research and new products as well as taking part in hands-on training. This continued education shows a cosmetic dentist has commitment and the knowledge necessary to do the best job possible. Check also that he or she is a member of the British Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (BACD).

Modern technology

Cosmetic dentists should also be using modern up-to-date equipment and offering the most recent treatments available. Intra-oral cameras, computers, lasers and imaging are all signs of a modern clinic. They should also have an informative website offering plenty of information to their readers about all the treatments that they provide.

In addition to the above points, a good cosmetic dentist should be promoting the laboratory that produces their veneers or crowns; explain how a treatment will affect your facial aesthetics as well as your bite and gums. Any treatment should leave your mouth feeling comfortable. They should also have a good selection of before and after photos of real patients that they have worked on. Finally, check whether they offer a payment plan and don’t be tempted to choose the cheapest because it’s quite likely they may be cutting corners or using inferior products. Remember, when it comes to cosmetic dentistry, you do get what you pay for.

If you’re seeking a cosmetic dentist then Southampton based Smilemakers would be only too happy to help. Dr Thomas Darling and his team are highly skilled and knowledgeable in all that they do. You can read more information on our website at or book an appointment by calling 02380 442626.