FAQ's

Here are some of the more common questions that we are asked. If your question is not covered here please contact us and we will be very happy to help.

How do I book an appointment?
Do you charge if I miss or cancel an appointment?
What is the Andrews Dental Care Plan?
How do you make sure all your equipment is properly clean and safe?
How can I pay my bill?
What do I do if I have a dental emergency and need urgent help?
Why do I need to come to the dentist if I am not in pain?
How does smoking affect my mouth?
What are the signs of mouth cancer?
I have been told I have gum disease, what can I do?
Do I really need to use floss or TePe brushes?
Is there any link between gum problems and heart disease/stroke/lung disease/low birth weight babies?
So what is the problem with fizzy drinks? I drink diet coke... no sugar... surely that's okay?
Are dental x-rays dangerous?
What can I do if I am unhappy with my treatment either in or out of the surgery?
I am really frightened of the dentist. Can you help me?
Do you do Orthodontics (tooth straightening)?
What about implants?

How do I book an appointment?

Please ring 01572 822655 or email teresa@andrewsdentalcare.co.uk or call in at the practice and we will book an appointment convenient for you. We will send you a reminder by text or ring you the day before your appointment if you wish. if you need to cancel or change an appointment please give us as much notice as possible, this allows us to offer the time reserved for you to someone else, and helps keep our costs and therefore our prices down.

Back to top

Do you charge if I miss or cancel an appointment?

There are no fees charged for an appointment cancelled or changed with at least 2 days notice. When appointments are cancelled with less notice we will do our best to reschedule the time reserved for you with another patient. If we are unable to do this there may be a cancellation fee. This fee is linked to the fixed running costs of the surgery and the amount of time lost. This fee also applies to any appointments missed or forgotten. However we do understand that illnesses and emergencies do occur and we do allow for this. There will be no charge in the event of a genuine emergency. We listen to the circumstances and try to do the fair thing.

Back to top

What is the Andrews Dental Care Plan?

You pay a monthly fee which entitles you to 2 dentist inspections and 2 scale and polish appointments each year.  The amount you pay each year is less than if you were paying for each appointment separately and all radiographs needed are also included. So it is a really good deal. If you need any additional treatment for example a filling or a crown you will pay privately for this but we reduce our normal fee charges by 10% for patients on the Plan.

Back to top

How do you make sure all your equipment is properly clean and safe?

We adhere to the latest government regulations advice and guidelines regarding equipment, cross infection and decontamination. This is all thoroughly checked by inspectors from the Care Quality Commission. All our equipment is properly serviced and maintained and our staff receive regular training to make sure we are completely up to speed. We take your safety and ours very seriously!

Back to top

How can I pay my bill?

You can either pay for your dental care through our Plan with a monthly direct debit or if you prefer ‘pay as you go’ for dental treatment by cash personal cheque or most major credit or debit cards. We ask you to pay for your treatment on the day you receive it. We do not normally send invoices, though of course we will always give you a receipt for your payment.

Back to top

What do I do if I have a dental emergency and need urgent help?

Please telephone the practice on 01572 822655 as soon as possible. We will do everything we can to help. The earlier in the day that you ring, the more likely you are to be seen that same day and at a time that suits you best. If the practice is closed, please telephone and listen to the answer phone message which will give you guidance for emergency arrangements during evenings and week-ends and holidays.

Back to top

Why do I need to come to the dentist if I am not in pain?

The problem is it does not necessarily follow that not having pain means that you do not have a problem. Tooth decay and gum disease need to be well advanced before they cause pain. By the time they cause pain treatment becomes more difficult, more expensive and time consuming and the outcomes are less predictable.

At our check-ups we will check your teeth and gums very carefully and advise you of any potential problems. We also always check for mouth cancer. If your teeth and gums are completely healthy, we will give you advice on how to keep them that way. We may also recommend you increase the interval between check-ups to a year or even 2 years if you are spectacularly good!

Back to top

How does smoking affect my mouth?

The nicotine and tar in smoke will stain your teeth, it will cause and accelerate gum disease which may lead to tooth loss, you may get bad breath and it increases the risk of developing mouth, throat and lung cancer.

Smoking reduces the blood and oxygen supply to the gums. Quite often this will mean that if you smoke your gums do not bleed (first sign of gum disease) even though they are very unhealthy. If you are thinking of giving smoking up please go to smokefree.nhs.uk where you should find lots of information, support and advice to help you. In the meantime the Philips Sonicare toothbrush is most effective at reducing stain. You need to visit us regularly so we can check your mouth for the very earliest signs of mouth cancer which are easy to treat.

Back to top

What are the signs of mouth cancer?

Mouth cancer can appear in different forms and can affect all parts of the mouth, tongue and lips. It can appear as a painless mouth ulcer that does not heal normally. If you ever have a mouth ulcer that does not heal after 3 weeks please come to see us so we can check it out. We do a thorough inspection for mouth cancer at every check-up. We can see parts of your mouth that are difficult for you to see yourself. If we have any concerns the appropriate action will be taken, we will arrange that you are seen by an expert in Oral Medicine to make sure it is nothing serious.

Mouth cancer is most common in patients over 40 who smoke cigarettes or a pipe and drink alcohol. Mouth cancer kills over 1700 people in the UK every year. Many of these deaths could be prevented if the cancer is caught early enough.

A healthy diet is important – eating plenty of fresh fruit and green and yellow vegetables helps to prevent cancer.

Back to top

I have been told I have gum disease, what can I do?

Periodontal (gum) disease affects the bone supporting the teeth and can result in the loss of teeth. You can prevent periodontal disease from developing or from getting worse by maintaining a good dental care routine and making regular visits to your dentist or hygienist.

There are two main stages of gum disease:

This treatment is often performed under a local anaesthetic and may require you to make several appointments depending on whether your mouth is treated in sections.

Back to top

Do I really need to use floss or TePe brushes?

It does not matter how well you brush it does not reach the plaque ( food and bacteria) ‘in between’ the teeth without using something specially designed to reach these places. If you do not clean your teeth your gums will start to bleed, your breath may smell and you will start to lose the bone that supports the teeth. It does not happen overnight and some people are much more susceptible than others to gum disease and need more help keeping their mouths healthy. You can get into good habits and routines and use tape and TePe brushes every day then you are on the way to keeping your teeth and gums healthy for life. You know it makes sense!

Back to top

Is there any link between gum problems and heart disease/stroke/lung disease/low birth weight babies?

Yes. Bacteria from the mouth can get into the blood stream and affect the heart, lungs and bring on early labour and diabetes. People with gum disease are almost twice as likely to have coronary artery heart disease as those with healthy gums. To prevent gum disease you need to make sure you remove all the plaque from your teeth every day.

Back to top

So what is the problem with fizzy drinks? I drink diet coke...no sugar...surely that’s ok?

Although diet coke has no sugar in it and therefore does not cause tooth decay, all cokes and fizzy drinks contain carbonic acid which means you are essentially bathing your teeth in a weak acid and this destroys the enamel (dental erosion). This causes disfiguring tooth loss, pain and sensitivity. The odd can of coke is not a problem but we know that many people drink up to a litre a day! Not only does the carbonic acid damage your teeth it also damages your bones....so please try and reduce your intake or better still stop completely. Use a straw and never ‘swish’ drinks around your mouth to reduce tooth damage. Alcopops and fruit juices can also be damaging.

Water, milk and dilute low sugar or sugar free squashes are the best drinks. Sometimes the damage can be repaired using tooth coloured fillings bonded to the teeth or in more severe case using porcelain veneers. Duraphat toothpaste which contains high levels of fluoride can help prevent further damage.

Diet health tip

The most common cause of tooth decay is refined sugars, which by encouraging plaque build up can also lead to gum disease. Examples of refined sugars include sucrose, glucose, dextrose, corn syrup and glucose syrup. Even natural sugars such as those found in fruit and honey can cause plaque acids. Examples of natural sugars include fructose, lactose and maltose. Acid in plaque builds up only seconds after eating sugars but may take 30 minutes to return to safe levels. It is not only the quantity of sugar that can cause damage but the frequency, so if you do eat sweets, avoid spreading them out over a long period of time.

Back to top

Are dental x-rays dangerous?

The amount of radiation received from a dental x-ray is extremely small.

At Andrews Dental Care we have invested in digital radiography, which greatly reduces the radiation exposure compared to traditional x-rays. Radiation is around us all the time. You get about the same amount of radiation from having two dental x-rays as you do travelling on a flight to Spain. We take your safety and ours very seriously.

We take radiographs when we require more information about your teeth and mouth than we can see by just looking. They can provide a huge amount of information including decay interproximally or under old fillings; the amount of bone supporting the teeth and any subgingival deposits which if treated early is easier and less expensive. We usually take radiographs about every 2 years.

Back to top

What can I do if I am unhappy with my treatment either in or out of the surgery?

We are very proud of the care we provide and we know that most of our patients most of the time are very happy, but sometimes despite our best efforts we do get it wrong. We promise we will always do whatever we can to put it right. So if you are unhappy please tell us. There are several things that you can do. If it is something small, please write it on one of the patient comment cards in the waiting room and put it in our suggestion box in reception. We look at these regularly and discuss your comments at every staff meeting.

If it is something clinical please do speak initially to the dentist. She will always do whatever she can to resolve problems. If you are uncomfortable doing this for any reason then please speak to Christine Irving our Complaints Manager. Alternatively you can write, email or telephone. However you communicate with us please be assured we take your feedback very seriously and it will be acted on....quickly. Please note that we keep strictly to the rules of confidentiality; if you are complaining on behalf of someone else, we have to know that you have their permission to do so, unless they are a child under 16.

Back to top

I am really frightened of the dentist. Can you help me?

Many people feel nervous of seeing the dentist, especially a new dentist. Sometimes this fear is so great that the person will only come when they are in severe pain. It could be due to a bad experience as a child and the smell or sounds in the surgery bring back the memories or it is a specific fear of injections or the slow drill.

The first thing to do is to make an appointment and tell us you are nervous.

You will find us sympathetic and friendly. We will listen to you and do everything we can to help. We give you bubble gum flavoured cream to numb the gum before we give the injection. Most importantly though, we put you in charge so if you want us to stop, however often and for whatever reason, you just lift your hand and we stop. We go at your pace and we do the treatment in short bursts. We play music, CDs and classic FM as it is the only station we can get at present but you are welcome to bring your own music and we are happy to listen to your choice. One patient actually introduced me to ‘Meatloaf’ many years ago and another does the hand and foot movements to ‘Night Fever’ by the Bee Gees whilst receiving treatment!

Sometimes this is not enough and we will for more difficult treatments prescribe a low dose of valium tablet for you to take orally the night before and on the morning of treatment so that you feel more relaxed and able to have the necessary treatment. The more you come to visit us the more your fear should lessen and regular dental care can become a normal part of your life, honestly!

At Andrews Dental Care we also draw upon the services of Hazel Hirst who is a UKCP Registered Therapist qualified in helping patients overcome their phobias including dental fears.

If you haven’t been to the dentist for a long time you may be worried about how much treatment you need. Most of the time it is nowhere near as bad as you imagine. The biggest thing is to pick up the phone and make an appointment.

Back to top

Do you do Orthodontics (tooth straightening)?

Orthodontics is a much specialised branch of dentistry and we believe that to consistently get the best results it needs to be carried out by dentists who only do orthodontics.

We refer most of our patients to: Dr Andrew Lumb at Melton Orthodontics, Melton Mowbray, www.meltonorthodontics.co.uk or Mr Alan Kinch, www.orthodontics-peterborough.co.uk.

Back to top

What about implants?

Implants are amazing. Placing implants is also a very specialised branch of dentistry and we refer patients who are interested in these to either Dr Jose Zurdo at the Carisbrooke Specialist Centre, Leicester www.rdsurgery.co.uk/experts  or Mr Stephen Dover, Consultant in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Birmingham www.westbournecentre.co.uk.

Back to top