Category: Practice News

Are plaque removal tools safe to use at home?

By Maya Samuel

You may have recently seen specialised plaque removal tools on sale for the general public to purchase on social media. These tools are known as scalers and are used by dental hygienists to remove plaque and calculus from your teeth during a hygiene visit. A hygienist will gently clean around your teeth and under your gum-line to ensure they are free from bacteria and calculus whilst giving you advice on how to maintain good oral health at home. Sometimes deeper cleaning is required where the hygienist will clean the root surfaces of your teeth.

The tools they use can be very sharp and if used improperly, can damage your teeth and gums and although widely available, they are not recommended by dental professionals for patients to use themselves at home. As these tools are sharp and gum tissue is very delicate, it is easy to cause trauma. Trauma can result in gum recession which in turn increases your risk of developing sensitivity and tooth decay as the root surface is softer than enamel. You may also cause trauma to other soft tissues such as your cheeks and tongue. Finally, you may cause damage to your enamel which is irreversible and as a result, stains will pick up faster. If you require deeper root surface cleaning, then this will be very difficult and dangerous to carry out on yourself.

Hygienists are required to undergo a minimum of 2 years’ worth of training at university to learn how to use these tools effectively and most importantly, safely. Removing plaque is extremely important in preventing gum disease and tooth decay, however there are other ways of doing this. Remembering to brush twice a day using the correct technique for a minimum of 2 minutes at a time. Ensuring you are using a soft toothbrush head, a fluoridated toothpaste and using some form of interdental aid e.g. floss or interdental brushes at least once a day to ensure optimal oral health.

If you are concerned about the presence of plaque in your mouth, please visit your dentist or hygienist to have a full mouth assessment and if necessary, treatment carried out by a qualified dental hygienist.

What if my child cannot get braces on the NHS?

By Amy Cuckoo

This is a popular question we get from our parents in clinic and the question we would type into Google if our children were turned away from the NHS for orthodontics. But what options are available if this does happen?

Firstly, I would like to say that the NHS are fantastic and do an incredible job. This blog post is simply highlighting the difficulty parents are facing getting orthodontics on the NHS and what options are available to them if their child is refused them.

However, before I go to the solutions, let me give you some insight as to why some parents are finding it increasingly difficult to get NHS braces for their child and why they are turning to private practices like Aura Dental to help.

Why is it so difficult?

It is a common public misconception that private practices choose not to provide NHS services, I know I thought this before I worked in Dentistry, however, whilst this is correct for some practices, for others it is extremely difficult to “win” a contract bid.

NHS Orthodontic tenders are available to the most competitive bidder and unfortunately there are very few tenders available. In April 2019, only one practice in the Westminster borough, housing 226,000+ people, will be able to provide NHS orthodontics.

The City of Westminster undertook an assessment of the Westminster population in 2013 and at that time there were 18,975 children aged from 10-19. That’s 18,974 other parents competing with you and your child to get free orthodontic treatment on the NHS. ¹

 But why would you not be able to get the braces?

If you have taken your child for an NHS assessment then it’s likely you would have heard about the IOTN rating system, this is the Index of Orthodontic Treatment Need and is used to assess your child’s eligibility for NHS treatment.

  • Grade 1 = almost perfection
  • Grade 2 = minor irregularities
  • Grade 3 = greater irregularities which normally do not need treatment for health reasons.
  • Grade 4 = severe degrees of irregularity
  • Grade 5 = severe dental health problems

If you would like to know what is included in these scales, please the British Orthodontic Society page here.

NHS treatment is only available for grade 4 and grade 5 cases. Grade 3 cases are rare and usually judged on an individual basis.

Waiting times

We are always told that “Good things come to those who wait”, however, this is not the same for NHS Orthodontics.

With 18,000 children+ all trying to squeeze in the same funnel the waiting lists for treatment are around 1-2+ years, with the initial consultation having up to a 6 month wait.

Help me!

So, you’ve been waiting for all the baby teeth to fall out, you’ve been waiting for their assessment and been told that they don’t make the IOTN scale, or you’ve been told that they can have them but there is a 2-year waiting list and you don’t want to wait, what do you do now?!

Our first advise is to go to the assessment and see if your child is suitable, if you can get this on the NHS then you absolutely should!
However, if you want to be seen sooner or if they have been declined on the NHS, Dr Korosh Majidi at Aura Dental has a special interest in Orthodontics and extensive experience in children’s orthodontics. Dr Majidi will be happy to see you complimentary!

Seeing us at Aura Dental mean no fees for weekend or out of school appointments!

I hear your next question, “how much is this going to cost me though?”. The initial assessment is completely complimentary and with braces starting from £1999 for a single arch, £2800 for both arches and finance packages available, where there is a will there is a way!



What happens in a dental hygiene appointment?

By Maya Samuel

Visiting your dental hygienist is an integral part of maintaining good oral health. Your hygienist is a dental care professional whose area of expertise focuses on preventing oral disease such as gum disease and tooth decay.

Click here to see our infographic on the importance or healthy teeth!

So, what happens when you first arrive?

Your hygienist will begin by reviewing your medical history which is vital in ensuring safe care. This will include any medical conditions you may have or any prescribed medications you may be taking that could have an effect on the care you receive. They will also enquire about your social history which includes your smoking status and alcohol consumption that also have an influence on your oral health. Your hygienist will also ask about any past dental history, your current oral hygiene regime and any concerns you may have with your teeth.

Having a thorough look

Next, your hygienist will assess your head and neck region, your teeth and soft tissues within your mouth. They will assess the health of your gums and discuss their findings with you and finally, determine the treatment required.

What happens during the treatment?

Treatment may include scaling and root surface debridement (the removal of debris from the root surface) to remove plaque and calculus from the teeth. This is usually done by an ultra-sonic scaler which is a powered instrument producing vibrations and a water jet, as well as hand instruments where required. Your hygienist will then polish your teeth to remove stains and give your teeth a nice gleaming shine.

Sometimes a good clean can prevent the need to whitening your teeth!

Following treatment, your hygienist will then advise you of a tailored oral hygiene regime in order to maintain excellent plaque control at home. Information may include toothbrushing techniques, flossing technique and/or the use of interdental brushes. They may also share information related to smoking cessation, diet advice and the use of fluoride in preventing dental decay.

Based on your oral condition, your hygienist will then determine an appropriate schedule for you to receive on-going care and follow up on any issues raised. Any concerns that your hygienist cannot attend to will be referred accordingly and care for by the appropriate professional.

If you would like to arrange a dental hygiene appointment please give us a call on 0207 722 0040 or email

DIY Braces – Is this right for me?

By Amy Cuckoo


When we’re looking at decorating our home, normally a trip down to B&Q at the weekend is all we need to get the job done ourselves, no matter our skill set. Does this mean that we should all be opening our own painting and decorating businesses? With my ability, you would hope not!

In recent months, we’ve seen an eruption of DIY brace companies providing a “Do-It-Yourself” solution for teeth straightening. What does this mean and is it right for you?

What are DIY Braces?

“DIY Braces” or “Mail Order Braces” are a series of clear trays, known as aligners, that you use at home to straighten your teeth. There are various companies out there offering the service but they essentially all work in the same way:

Step 1: Order a kit and take your impression at home.
Step 2: A Qualified Dentist looks at your models and calculates your plan.
Step 3: Aligners are manufactured and shipped to you.
Step 4: Wear your aligners and straighten your teeth.

So, what do you need to bear in mind?

There is an art to taking dental impressions that can take nurses and dentists weeks to learn professionally and with the 3D technology we use at Aura Dental we can take your impressions without the need for putty material.  As this is likely to be the first dental impression you have taken, this can open your treatment up to errors. If the initial impression is wrong, this could cause an impact to treatment and potentially risk your desired outcome altogether, leaving your teeth worse than when you started.

When assessing for braces in a dental practice, you are recommended to have a panoramic radiograph. This allows the dentist to check for suitability of tooth movement, bone availability, gum recession and other contributing factors when looking at orthodontic treatment. Without doing one is like putting a car through a MOT without ever looking under the bonnet. Not ideal right?

So, what do you need to bear in mind? These systems will be straightening your teeth absolutely but they are not looking at the overall bite of how you bite together. This in itself can cause issues down the line in regards to tooth enamel wearing away.
We only get one set of teeth so please, just speak to any dental professional before taking the decision of proceeding with DIY braces.

What is the official word?

The British Orthodontic Society (BOS) is a charity-led society formed to act as the national representative of all orthodontists and below is the grand finale of their official statement!

¹ “The British Orthodontic Society strongly advises the public not to undertake such treatments. If you are considering braces please seek the advice of your dentist first.”

You can access the full article below in the references but let me summarise the concerns the BOS has:

  • No clinical examination has been carried out by a professional to ascertain whether orthodontic treatment is in the best interest of the patient.
  • There are various orthodontic solutions available to patients and patients need to be aware of the solutions and risks associated with them.
  • The potential for less than desirable outcomes due to the treatment being unsupervised by a professional.

All our consultations are complimentary at Aura Dental so why take the risk?



¹ British Orthodontic Society:

Teeth Whitening

Teeth Whitening

Did you know that people with shiny white teeth are more likely to go on dates or even get jobs at interviews? No you didn’t, right?  Neither did I. Mostly because there’s nothing like that. So if you are one of those people thinking the sun won’t need to shine because your teeth are so bright, here’s a chance to quit the daydream and learn a few facts.

Let’s start from the basics. It’s all in the name. Teeth whitening simply means making your teeth as white as they should naturally be or whiter, usually by removing long standing stains or by other means which would probably make this definition too long.

Now you may be thinking, “Shouldn’t a toothbrush do the job?” Well, correct me if I’m wrong but keeping anything white always requires special attention, whether it’s a bathtub, a shirt, your sneakers or your teeth. Of course, the only difference is people actually spend more than 5 years studying teeth, so it’s safe to assume they’re more delicate. You may want to avoid experimenting with them.

So while anyone can whiten their teeth, the process will vary based on a number of factors –from how badly discoloured the teeth are, how soon you want to see results or how long you want the results to last to simply postponing teeth whitening due to mouth related diseases or pregnancy. In effect, the whole process should be tailored to suit you personally including deciding if and when you can do it at home.

Meanwhile, the more effective whitening products contain higher quantities of the active agent (hydrogen peroxide) which can be very dangerous and are only legally allowed to be used or prescribed by dentists as the case demands. Even your insurance company is sure to have a few paragraphs waiting to deny you if you somehow get into trouble by using those products without supervision. Naturally, access to such products means that whitening done by dentists produces better results than the ones done at home.

This next part may break a few hearts but certain foods must be avoided during the period of teeth whitening. Some of them include strawberry, black tea or soda, black coffee, snacks with powdered cheese, tomato or red sauce, blueberries, chocolate, red wine,and others you can confirm from your dentist but yes, no pain no gain. You can still however have ice cream or yoghurt, rice, bread, milk, even sushi. But if you really must have a drink that causes discoloration, you must use a straw without shaking the drink around in your mouth. Although that is the whole point, isn’t it?

Professionally, there are two new major teeth whitening treatments – Zoom teeth whitening and Enlighten teeth whitening.

Zoom actually fits its description. It is much faster and you would be done in less than 2 hours. Perfect for a quick fix but it only makes your teeth about 6 shades lighter and lasts roughly about a year.

Enlighten on the other hand gives a shade B1 which is up to 15 times whiter than the current shade and can last up to 4 years, especially with good oral hygiene practices. Although, as you may have guessed, this is no quick fix. It takes about 3 weeks to complete the process.



As with every new treatment, you would be right to guess that there are side effects. Provided it was done professionally, your teeth may just be very sensitive to hot or cold water or have a slight ache but it should all resolve on its own. If you did, however, assume you bagged a dental degree from a YouTube crash course, well, keep your friends close and your dentist closer.