Electric toothbrush or manual toothbrush? Silver fillings or white fillings? A dentist gives some advice about these, and other, common dental dilemmas
Electric toothbrush versus manual toothbrush
Electric toothbrushes seem to be all the rage these days. But have we become a little too hasty at pushing trusty manual toothbrushes to the back of bathroom cabinets?
Dr Glafcos Tombolis of Wandsworth Dentist Ethicare says: “When it comes to brushing, using a manual toothbrush is harder to get right – you need to be more systematic when using one.”
He added: “The timers and gadgets on an electric toothbrush make it easier to clean thoroughly and electric brushes are excellent at getting the right brushing pressure.”
The dentist revealed that patients of his who switch from manual to electric toothbrushes report feeling much more confident about their oral hygiene.
It sounds like it could be time to go electric…
Silver fillings v white fillings
If cost is your main consideration then bear in mind that silver-coloured amalgam fillings are traditionally cheaper. At Ethicare, silver fillings are priced between £50 and £120. White fillings cost between £60 and £200.
Silver fillings, although less dear, are harder, stronger and more durable. However there are some (as yet) unproven fears about the safety level of the mercury content in the amalgam which is found in silver fillings.
White fillings tend to be better for cosmetic purposes as the colour will be more likely to blend in with the colour of your natural teeth.
Dr Tombolis says: “In many cases silver fillings are better for deeper fillings. White fillings are often more appropriate for smaller fillings as they can be less destructive to the existing tooth structure.”
The dentist added: “Also bear in mind that a white filling has a lifespan of seven years plus, whereas an amalgam filling can last ten years plus.”
Straightening teeth v leaving them as they are
Orthodontics has come on in leaps and bounds over the past few decades. Clear braces (see later in this article) provide a super alternative to metal braces and can be worn without anyone guessing.
Straightening treatment is generally only successful if you are motivated to look after your teeth; if you have lots of decayed teeth or suffer from poor oral hygiene then braces might not be for you.
Dr Tombolis said: “The decision to have straightened teeth is a cosmetic one most of the time. Patients should ask themselves whether they are content with the appearance of the teeth before they make the decision.”
He added: “Lower teeth do tend to get more crowded as you get older; they drift towards the middle. Sometimes this can get a little more pronounced if they aren’t straightened.”
Invisalign clear braces versus Inman Aligner
Invisalign can help treat teeth which are crooked, crowded or with gaps. These braces are easily removable and because they are clear no one is likely to notice that you are wearing them.
A course of treatment involving Invisalign involves wearing a different set of braces every couple of weeks. The average Invisalign Treatment lasts 12 months. At Ethicare, Invisalign treatments start from £2,995.
The Inman Aligner is often a good alternative to invisible braces – they can usually move teeth in a shorter period of time; sometimes it only takes a matter of weeks.
These braces are cheaper than Invisalign Braces – Ethicare’s Inman treatment prices start at £995.
Dr Tombolis says: “Invisalign Lite is even cheaper than the Invisalign Full treatment, which, although it treats all the teeth in the mouth, isn’t needed by every patient.”
It is always a good idea to ask your dentist for more information before you embark on a course of treatment. Making an informed choice about your oral health is so important.