Whiter Teeth ‘Off The Shelf’?

A closer look at the promises of teeth whitening toothpastes.

You will probably have noticed an increasing number of advertisements on TV for teeth whitening toothpastes and this is probably a good indication that people are looking to have a more attractive smile these days.

The question though, is how much difference these toothpastes can really make?

The opinion of our dentists at the Lighthouse Dental Practice in Ipswich is that, whilst these toothpastes will do no harm, patients will possibly be disappointed by the end result.

Minimal effect

The reality is that toothpastes are restricted by health and safety laws as to the amount of the active whitening ingredient that is allowed within them. Given that the whitening ingredient is a form of bleach, it is hardly surprising that common household items such as this need to be safe from the prying eyes, and mouths, of young children especially.

Because the amount of whitening agent allowed is very small, it is unrealistic for patients to expect to see great improvements in the whiteness of their teeth, although very small improvements may be noticed by some. Generally, we would only suggest these toothpastes for anyone who has recently had a teeth whitening procedure and wishes to maintain the whiteness for a little longer, or for people whose teeth are naturally already quite white.

Teeth whitening procedure

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Posted in Teeth whitening

Our Ipswich Dentist Explains The Basics Of Tooth Extraction

How dentists ‘pull out’ a tooth.

Extracting a tooth is always the last resort at the Lighthouse Dental Practice and our team will always do their best to restore a damaged or infected tooth wherever possible.

Through procedures such as fillings, crowns and even root canal therapy, it is often possible to save even fairly badly damaged teeth. In some cases though, it no longer becomes possible, or practical, to do so, and the tooth may need to be removed.

It is important that you should never attempt to remove a tooth yourself. Doing so may not only potentially cause you a great deal of pain, but may also result in both damage to the jawbone in the area and also greatly increase the risk of infection. Always seek assistance from your local dentist in Ipswich.

The extraction

Although some people describe having a tooth extraction as having a tooth ‘pulled out’, this is only a part of the story. Naturally, the area of the extraction will first of all be numbed using a local anaesthetic. Once we are happy that the anaesthetic has taken full effect, the dentist will use special implements to grip the tooth in question. Rather than ‘pull out’ the tooth directly though, the dentist will manoeuvre the tooth gently from side to side, gradually releasing it from the surrounding bone. Once this has happened, then the dentist can extract the tooth from its socket.

Inevitably, there will be some bleeding following the extraction and you will be given a piece of sterile gauze to bite on to stem the flow. This will be left until a blood clot has formed.This clot plays an important role in the healing of the area and should not be dislodged. You will be given full aftercare advice following the procedure, and we are always on hand should you have any questions or concerns.

Wisdom teeth extraction

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Posted in Advice

Facial Rejuvenation For Our Ipswich Patients

Roll back the signs of ageing lines and wrinkles at Lighthouse Dental Practice.

As well as offering general and cosmetic dentistry at our Ipswich dental practice, we also offer an extensive range of facial rejuvenation treatments. Lines and wrinkles, which can add to the ageing appearance of your skin, can be reduced quickly, leaving you with younger looking skin.

Whilst some extreme cases of facial treatments have received bad press in the past, these procedures are perfectly safe in the hands of experienced practitioners such as those at the Lighthouse Dental Practice.

You can be assured that you will be safe in the hands of our dedicated and fully trained facial aesthetics team.

Muscle relaxants

The lines and wrinkles that appear as we get older are almost impossible to avoid. A healthy diet, good hydration and possibly even the use of some moisturising creams may help to reduce or to delay their appearance. You can though, be certain that they will eventually come. When they do, the only way to reduce them is to use muscle relaxing injections to minimise the effects.

These injections are placed just under the surface of the skin in the relevant areas using a very fine needle. There should be no significant discomfort, although you may feel a little pricking sensation as the needle enters the skin. The injections work by encouraging the muscles that cause the wrinkles to gradually relax. You should start to first notice this effect after a few days, with the full results being seen in just over a week. The effect of these injections can last for a number of months and the procedure can be safely repeated as desired.

Dermal fillers

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Posted in Facial aesthetics

Dentures or Dental Implants?

Why both are viable options, depending on the patient’s needs.

When a tooth is lost, especially a visible one, it is only natural that people want to replace it with an artificial one. There are three main ways in which this can be done, dentures, bridges or dental implants.

At the Lighthouse Dental Practice in Ipswich, we offer all three of these options for patients with missing teeth.

Below, we discuss these options, focusing especially, on whether dentures still have a role to play in restoring a person’s smile.

Bridges and Implants

We will cover these two procedures together as both require slightly more complex dental surgery. A bridge is so called because it ‘bridges’ the gap between teeth. Essentially it consists of one or more replacement teeth which are attached to the natural teeth either side of the gap using dental crowns. Whilst this is an effective method, it does require otherwise healthy teeth to be shaped so that the crowns can be attached to them.

Dental implants are, in the opinion of many, the best teeth replacement option currently available. Not only do they replace the actual visible tooth, but also the root of the tooth. This provides additional strength and security as well as helping to prevent bone loss in the jaw.


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Posted in Dental implants

Essential Advice For Healthy Teeth

Things to avoid, and things to do, compiled by our Ipswich dental team.

Whilst we are able to offer a wide range of restorative dental treatments at the Lighthouse Dental Practice in Ipswich, we would rather in a position where these were not necessary.

Whilst dental damage may always occur through accidents and unavoidable circumstances, many problems are relatively easily prevented with just a little care.

Please take a few minutes to read our blog and check if you are following these guidelines. It may make all the difference between having healthy teeth and gums and those requiring dental treatment!

Clean your teeth

This is the most obvious thing that you can do to keep your teeth in good condition. It should be done twice daily and especially before bedtime in order to remove sugars and excess bacteria that would otherwise cause damage whilst you sleep. Remember too, that any drinks after you clean your teeth before bedtime should be water only.

You should check that your brush is no more than three months old and replace it if it is. Also make sure that you are using a fluoride toothpaste of the right strength as this will help to strengthen the enamel of your teeth. Brushing should be done gently in a circular motion, and there is no need to press hard when brushing – indeed, it is likely to damage the enamel if you do.

Don’t forget dental floss

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Posted in Advice

Urgent Dental Care

How and when to see our Ipswich emergency dentists.

However well we look after our teeth, brushing and flossing them on a daily basis, there is always a risk of sudden and potentially painful damage occurring. If we play sports, or even just trip in the street, our teeth can sometimes take the full force of an unexpected blow and may require urgent dental treatment, both to restore the tooth and to eradicate any accompanying pain.

Neglecting our teeth, including skipping dental check ups, can also contribute to sudden problems. A weakened tooth will always be more likely to break when eating something hard, than a healthy one will.

Whatever the situation though, nobody wants to suffer in pain for any longer than they have to, and at the Lighthouse Dental Practice in Ipswich, we offer an emergency dental service for these very instances.

What to do in an emergency

There are a number of steps that you should take in the case of a dental emergency, and we offer the main ones as a checklist below:

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Posted in Emergency dentist

Dental Veneers For Stained And Damaged Teeth

Cosmetic dentistry in Ipswich to restore your smile.

Having a teeth whitening procedure is often a person’s first step into the world of cosmetic dentistry. This is understandable as it is both affordable and a non invasive procedure.

For people whose teeth are a little discoloured but are in otherwise good condition, this is a great way to improve the look of them. For some though, a teeth whitening procedure may not be enough.

Where teeth are heavily stained; for example, after many years of heavy smoking, or where they have suffered from small chips and cracks, a whitening procedure would probably produce limited results and might only serve to highlight any chips or cracks.

Dental veneers

All is not lost for patients who have these problems, and, at the Lighthouse Dental Practice in Ipswich, we can use porcelain dental veneers, which, instead of attempting to change the colour of your teeth, actually replace the front surface enamel. Whilst this is a more invasive procedure than whitening, it is very popular for creating great looking smiles. Just a very fine layer of the surface enamel is removed and then replaced with a carefully manufactured, porcelain veneer.

To perform this procedure, you will first be given a local anaesthetic to minimise any discomfort. Next, a tool known as a dental burr is used to shave a very fine layer from the front surface of your teeth. Once this has been done, impressions are taken of the teeth and sent to a dental laboratory, where your new veneers will be made. As this can take a week or two, temporary veneers will be attached in the meantime to protect your teeth and reduce any sensitivity.

When the new veneers have been returned to our Ipswich practice, you will be recalled and the temporary veneers removed. The new porcelain veneers will then be attached to your teeth using a strong dental adhesive and will finally be trimmed and polished to give a natural and attractive appearance.

Longevity and aftercare

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Posted in Dental veneers

Preserving Root-Infected Teeth At Lighthouse Dental, Ipswich

How a root canal procedure can save an infected tooth from extraction.

Whilst there are a number of ways of restoring a tooth that has suffered from external damage, such as decay or breakages, there is only one treatment that is available where the inner part of a tooth has become infected. The root canal treatment has earned an undeserved reputation for discomfort over the years, but is actually an excellent way to preserve an infected tooth.

At the Lighthouse Dental Practice in Ipswich, you can be sure that our dentists will take good care of you, and, with the help of a local anaesthetic, you should not experience any significant discomfort throughout the procedure.

Causes of infection

In most instances, an infection of the root canals of the tooth will have started through damage being caused to the external enamel. Even a small crack in the enamel of your teeth can allow bacteria to enter into the root canals. As this is where the nerves of the tooth are located, this can cause very severe pain, particularly where the infection has progressed.


It is also possible that an abscess may form when a tooth becomes infected in this way, and it is widely thought that this may be where the idea of a root canal procedure being painful originates. There is little doubt that, if the procedure took place with an abscess present, it could be extremely painful indeed.

Like any other modern dental practice in Ipswich, we always start a root canal procedure by using x-rays to check for any signs of an abscess and, should any be found, your treatment will be delayed until the abscess has been treated.

Root canal procedure

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Posted in Root canal

Gum Disease – A Major Risk To Your Teeth

Avoiding gingivitis and periodontitis.

When most people think of dental care, they generally think about looking after their teeth. This is obviously important, but few people perhaps realise that gum disease is actually responsible for more tooth loss than tooth decay. Whilst decaying teeth can usually be restored using fillings or crowns here at your local Ipswich dentists, advanced gum disease means that there is a real risk that you may actually lose teeth.

There are, essentially, two key stages of gum disease; gingivitis and periodontitis.


Gingivitis is quite common, and most of us will experience it at some time or another. This may be at a time when we are ill, for example, and pay less attention to cleaning our teeth. This allows the ‘sticky’ bacteria, sometimes known as plaque, to build up on our teeth and the gum line, leading to symptoms which might include sore or bleeding gums.


If gingivitis is ignored and not treated, it is likely to advance to a stage known as periodontitis. This is much more serious and more difficult to treat. At this stage, not only the gums are affected, but also the jawbone which normally holds teeth securely in position. As the bacteria attack the bone, it starts to break down and eventually will no longer be capable of holding the teeth in place and tooth loss may occur.


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Posted in Gum disease

Tooth Implants – Introduced By Lighthouse Dental In Ipswich

For strong and stable tooth replacement, it’s hard to beat dental implants.

Losing a tooth can have a devastating impact on a person’s appearance, especially if it is a visible front tooth. Few people will opt to simply leave a gap where it can be seen when they smile and will usually investigate the options available to replace it. Traditional tooth replacement methods include a bridge or a partial denture, and whilst these do offer an effective cosmetic option, there are some compromises in terms of functionality.

However, there is an excellent alternative and here at the Lighthouse Dental Practice in Ipswich, we are pleased to offer our patients an increasingly popular and successful procedure known as dental implant placement.

What is a dental implant?

A dental implant is a screw like object which is made from titanium which is placed into the jawbone in the area where tooth loss has occurred. It is then left for a period of approximately three months, during which time, the implant and bone fuse, leaving the patient with a very secure artificial tooth root. Once this process is complete, a dental crown is then attached to give a strong and stable replacement tooth.

Does the procedure hurt?

Although some people wince at the thought of a hole being drilled into their jawbone, the reality is that this procedure should cause no more discomfort than many other invasive dental procedures. You will be given a strong local anaesthetic which will minimise pain throughout the procedure and dental sedation is available for patients who request it.

Can anyone have the procedure?

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Posted in Dental implants