When your wisdom teeth have to come out

Not everyone has to have wisdom teeth extractions. It depends on how your wisdom teeth come through as to whether the team at Amsel & Wilkins will recommend that you have them removed.

Extractions in BanburyWhat are wisdom teeth?

Your adult teeth come through in 2 waves. Nearly all of the teeth come through when you are aged 8-12, but there are 4 molars right at the back, one at either end of the upper and lower arches, that come through from around the age of 17-21.

The problems with wisdom teeth

The trouble is that wisdom teeth do not always come through straight. Sometimes they don’t come through at all. Other times they come through at an angle, this is what we mean when we say that your wisdom teeth are impacted.

The extraction procedure

Taking out wisdom teeth can be straightforward but your dentist may recommend a referral if it appears to be complex.  At Amsel and Wilkins we have Consultant oral surgeon  Catherine Sternberg who works alongside us , she will carry out an examination of your wisdom teeth and discuss what needs to be done, before drawing up a written treatment plan, including costs.

Generally speaking, we can remove your wisdom teeth under local anesthetic at the practice. If you are likely to be anxious about the procedure, we can also offer  referral for treatment with sedation or general anesthetic.

Go white, replace your old silver fillings

If you want to upgrade your smile and make it more attractive, have you ever considered getting your old amalgam fillings replaced with tooth coloured ones?

Go White, Replace Old Silver FillingsYou may not have, after all, fillings tend to be around the back teeth and are not always visible when you look in the mirror at yourself.

So, it may seem like a subtle thing to do, but getting your amalgam fillings replaced with tooth coloured composite can make a dramatic difference to how your teeth look.

You can have all your old fillings taken out and replaced in one or two appointments, or we can replace each filling as it wears out or starts to crack.

Tooth coloured fillings are made of a mixture of plastic and glass called composite resin. These fillings can be matched to the colour of your surrounding teeth so that they blend in very well.

Tooth coloured fillings, are built up in layers  and can be sculpted. Each layer that goes in is hardened, or cured, with a LED light before the next one goes in. When the cavity is filled, the dentist then polishes it smooth and sculpt in the mounds and valleys of the chewing surface, so you end up with a filling that looks just like a tooth.

Don’t forget the hygienists’ clean and polish

Despite all the gadgets and tricks to make life quicker and easier, it seems that we are all just as busy as we ever were, maybe even more so. We are constantly trying to find ways to save an hour here, 20 minutes there.

Hygienists Clean and PolishSo, if you have your regular check-ups here at Amsel & Wilkins in Banbury, you may think it’s okay to not bother with your 6-monthly half hour with hygienists for a clean and polish. After all, the dentist has already given you the thumbs up as far as your dental health is concerned, surely it can’t hurt to skip the hygienist and save yourself some time, and money.

Well, we don’t think skipping the clean and polish is a good plan, and here’s why.

Plaque, plaque, plaque

Plaque is the name we give to a particular kind of bacteria that live in your mouth. It builds up in sticky layers on your teeth, and other surfaces in order to avoid being swallowed in your saliva. Plaque bacteria feed on the sugars in your saliva and the more sugar there is, the more quickly they reproduce and build up on your teeth, giving you that furry feeling.

The trouble with plaque is that it gives off acids. They’re not harmful when they have been diluted in your saliva but as they come off the bacteria they are pretty concentrated and they can eat away at your teeth, creating little holes for decay-causing bacteria to get into.

Plaque love to hide away in difficult to reach places, such as around the gum line, and here the acids attack the gums, and then get under the gums to attack tooth roots and jawbone. With both decay and gum disease, the end result is tooth loss.

Brushing your teeth is done to remove plaque, but it’s impossible to get it all and when it’s left in situ for more than 3 days, plaque hardens and can’t be brushed away. Twice yearly sessions with the hygienist ensure that any build up of plaque is removed. So, please don’t skip this vital part of your oral health regime. If you haven’t been for a while, why not book an appointment today?

Filling the gaps

It’s only as you start to lose your teeth that you realise how important they are, not only for eating, but also for looking youthful and healthy, and for being able to speak clearly. And the more teeth you lose, the harder it gets.

Get a New Denture If you have lost a few teeth, or maybe even all your teeth, now is the time to get a new denture. Dentures have been around for centuries and are constantly being improved to make them fit better, look more realistic and do their job of eating and aiding clarity of speech better.

Here at Amsel & Wilkins, all of our dentists are trained to provide partial and full dentures. And one dentist, Nigel Braine-Hartnell, is certified to provide BPS (biofunctional prosthetic system) dentures, which are made of special materials to provide a high reproduction of natural speech and eating functions.

There are 2 kinds of dentures, full and partial.

Full dentures

Full dentures go over your gums in a snug fit. You will need to get a full denture if you have lost, or are about to lose, all the teeth on either your upper or lower arch. We like to fit full dentures as we remove your teeth so that you never have to be without teeth. Sometimes, if there have been a lot of extractions, and your gums have swollen because of them, we like to leave the fitting until the swelling has gone down. Once we have done the fitting, we send the measurements off to a laboratory to be made up. We won’t leave you without teeth during this time; you will get a temporary denture to wear.

For extra stability, your dentures can be attached to your jawbone with dental implants.

Partial dentures

If you have lost a few teeth around one jaw, we can replace them with a partial denture. This is a plastic or metal plate with the teeth placed around it that goes in behind your teeth and can be fixed onto the back ones with a clip to keep it still. You unclip your plate to take it out and clean it.

Come in for a consultation and let dentures give you your life back.

Straighter teeth look so great

Does it seem like everyone in your peer group is fixated on having straighter teeth? Well, there’s a couple of reasons why it has become so important to have teeth that line up well.

People notice what your teeth are like

Over many thousands of years, we have evolved to take a great deal of notice of each other’s teeth. These days, it may seem like we are just being fussy, but in the not so distant past, checking out each other’s teeth was a way of working out how safe it was to be around someone.

Straighter Teeth in BanburyImagine you are out and about in Banbury in the middle ages and you run into some new people. Before you get too chatty with them, you are going to want to take a good look at their teeth. If they are yellow and stumpy and their breath is not so fragrant, you’d probably elect to stand a few paces back, so that you did not pick up any infections they might have been harbouring.

These days, we are much less likely to be wandering about with any really nasty diseases that are contagious, but we still subconsciously focus on each other’s’ mouths and take note of what we see there.

So, if you feel like everyone notices that your teeth are not perfectly straight, that’s because they do.

Straighter teeth mean healthier mouths

When you have teeth that aren’t straight, over time it can lead to several problems.

Firstly, wonky teeth provide more places for bacterial plaque to build up and harden into calculus. Once that happens, and it takes about 3 days, you can no longer brush the plaque away. Meanwhile, under the calculus that plaque is still reproducing and giving off acids that will rot your teeth and attack your gums, eventually causing them to fall out, either through decay or gum disease. Straighter teeth tend to last longer than wonky ones.

Secondly, if some teeth are bearing the brunt of all your chewing, they may well crumble away after some years. Uneven chewing pressure can also cause a lot of pain.

So, come into Amsel & Wilkins and find out how we can help you get straighter teeth.

And it’s all thanks to digital technology

If you want to feel like you are seriously up-to-the-minute technology-wise and get your teeth straightened at the same time, you need to get Invisalign clear aligners. These are the technology superstars of the braces world. In fact, if it wasn’t for digital technology, they wouldn’t even exist.

Invisalign clear aligners were the brainchild of an American college student who wished he could have worn something more like his retainer instead of brackets and wires to straighten his teeth.

Invisalign in BanburyIt took a long time to get the funding together, and put together a manufacturing process, but since Invisalign first came on the market in the late 1990s, more than 4 million people have had their teeth realigned with this innovative treatment.

How Invisalign is made – digital consultation

Getting your aligners all starts with a consultation with us at Amsel & Wilkins in Banbury. We take detailed digital measurements of your teeth using the Itero handheld scanner, which works by taking hundreds of pictures of your teeth. As they are taken, they are built up into a 3D picture of your teeth on a nearby screen, which we can move around to look at your teeth from any angle.

We also put the image through a programme that shows how the teeth will need to be moved to reach their correct positions, and what they will look like once they are all beautifully straight.

3D printing

We send all that information over to the Invisalign factory in the USA. Because it goes over the Internet, it takes no time at all to get there, whereas sending putty impressions in the post can take several days.

Your aligners are then 3D printed, several of 80,000 such aligners that roll over the 3D conveyor belt every day at Invisalign. These do need to be sent by post, so they take a few days to get to us and then we can fit them for you.

None of this would be possible without digital technology, which is why we think Invisalign is pretty amazing.

When did you last have a hygienist clean and polish?

Run your tongue over your teeth. How do they feel? Lovely and smooth like a mirror? Or a bit ridged and furry? If it’s been a while since you last had a hygienist clean and polish, it’s more likely to the latter.

Hygienist Clean and Polish in BanburyThose ridges are not your teeth, they are a build-up of plaque and it’s likely that some of it has hardened into tartar, a chalky cement-like substance that can only be scraped away with special tools. If you look in the mirror, you might be able to see it on your teeth as yellowish stuff. It is mostly likely to be in the crevices between the teeth and also around the gumline. If you are a big tea or coffee drinker, or partial to red wine or smoking, the tartar could be stained brown or grey. Look at the tartar on other people’s teeth. Ew.

Get your plaque removed

At Amsel & Wilkins, we recommend a twice-yearly plaque removal session, called a hygienist clean and polish, to get rid of harmful plaque and bring out the beauty of your smile.

The reason we encourage people to get plaque removed is because it gives off acids that corrode the teeth, irritate and inflame the gums, cause bleeding and eventually can attack the tooth roots and bone, cause infections under the gum and lead to tooth loss.

That’s a pretty grim prospect. It’s called periodontitis, or advanced gum disease. The treatment for it can be pretty intense, requiring a local anaesthetic while the corroded roots and bone are planed flat. You may also need antibiotics for infected gums and you may even need gum grafts.

You can avoid all that by coming in twice a year to see our hygienists. Even if you have not been to us for a while, don’t be afraid to show them what’s in your mouth. They will remove any plaque and tartar before polishing up your teeth to create a shiny surface that plaque will find it hard to stick to for a while. They will also teach you great brushing techniques so that you can ward off the build-up of plaque at home.

Go white, replace silver fillings

As far as fashion statements go, silver fillings sound far more decorative than they actually are. For a start, they’re more a dark, shiny grey than silver, and they’re not made of silver, but of a mixture of materials called amalgam. Amalgam was the go-to method for filling cavities in the 20th century, but it has been slowly overtaken by white fillings.

Replace Silver Fillings in BanburyWhen white fillings first came in about 30 years ago, they looked great but they weren’t very strong. People often had to get them replaced quite soon after placement, especially if they were on the back teeth where all that chewing takes place.

Over the years, however, researchers have come up with much more durable composite materials (a mixture of plastic and glass) to create white fillings that are in every way superior to amalgam. Here’s why:


White fillings are now stronger than amalgam, which also cracks and needs to be replaced about every decade.

Bonding not packing

Amalgam is a soft material that dentists pack tightly into cavities. It cannot bond with the teeth, so there is always an infinitesimal gap around the edge and, over time, it can provide an entry for decay-causing bacteria to sneak in and start eating away at healthy tooth material under the filling. Composite resin fillings are put in in layers and each layer is cured with a UV light, which bonds it to the inside of the tooth. There is no gap for bacteria to sneak in through.

A better chewing surface

Amalgam is soft and can only produce a flat surface. If you have amalgam fillings on your back teeth, you lose your chewing surface, making it that tiny bit harder to mash up your food for swallowing. White fillings are much harder and once they are in place, your dentist here at Amsel & Wilkins in Banbury can sculpt it to give you back your chewing surfaces.

Invisible fillings

Throw back your head and laugh for all you’re worth. White fillings won’t give your dental history away like amalgam does. White fillings are also great for cavities on the front teeth.

Have you been screened?

As you get older, your chances of mouth and oral cancers increase. These cancers grow quickly and need to be dealt with as soon as possible. They are also directly linked to people’s lifestyles, and the number of cases is on the rise. Smoking and alcohol are factors in oral cancer along with other causes.

Mouth Cancer Screening in BanburyAt Amsel and Wilkins we routinely  include this screening as part of your dental examination.  Anyone over about the age of 35 should have a mouth cancer screening once a year, we are promoting mouth cancer screening in November this year, as it is Mouth Cancer Action Month.

You don’t necessarily have to come to us for a screening in November, but you need to make sure you have a screening some time during the coming year.

 What happens during a screening?

We take a careful look at your lips and inside your mouth. We will use a small angled mirror so that we can take a good look at your tongue and underneath it, the back of your throat, your lips, your gums and the inside of your cheeks. We will also feel with our fingers into your neck and chin.

We will be looking for any unusual lumps and bumps or lesions. We will also want to know if you have noticed any problems, not just lumps and ulcers that won’t heal, but any recent changes to your voice, such as hoarseness.

Who gets mouth cancer?

Mouth cancer is directly linked to smoking and to alcohol use. It is also linked to a poor diet (not enough fruit and veg), and obesity and also the HPV virus.


Although mouth cancers are fast growing, if caught early they are eminently treatable, which is why we encourage you to come for check-ups at least once a year. But if, between check-ups, you notice something that is not right and doesn’t clear up after 3 weeks, come and see us anyway. We can do a check, and, if at all necessary, send you for treatment.

Go lighter

Interested in lighter, brighter teeth? Have you considered Tooth Whitening?

Bleaching in BanburyOne way to upgrade your smile that is simple and easy is to use bleaching in Banbury from us at Amsel & Wilkins. We have a great way to subtly and gradually lighten your teeth by carrying out the treatment yourself at home

Better than off-the-shelf

Some over the counter teeth-bleaching kits can be damaging to your teeth and gums or have little or no effect in ‘Whitening’ your teeth.

Bespoke gel trays

When you come to Amsel and Wilkins for bleaching, we take impressions or  scans of your teeth and use them to make you gel trays that fit your teeth exactly, which allows for more effective treatment, your dentist will show you exactly how to use Whitening treatment before you take it home and see you again to review how well the treatment is working.


As dentists, we can provide you with more effective gels than you can buy over the counter. The Whitening gel is made from hydrogen peroxide  and you will get more effective whitening over a shorter period of time.

Also, you can reuse the trays time and again, whenever you need to top-up your whitening.