Thursday, 11 December 2008

Longborough Team Christmas Lunch

We visited Denbies Vineyard for our practice Christmas lunch today to celebrate a very successful year. Julie and Wai-Wai passed their Dental Nursing qualifications, Shernaz passed her Implant examinations and we recruited three excellent, new team members; Janet our hygienist, Odetta our customer relations receptionist and Ashley, our financial manager.

We dined in the Gallery Restaurant at the top of the Denbies viewing tower with beautiful views over Box Hill, Ranmore and the Mole Valley. As you can see in the photos we were joined by Richard & Alison Hooker. Richard retired from general dentistry in 2003 after 40 years at Longborough. He now devotes much of his time to his other passions in life St George's Church in Ashtead and his eight grandchildren. Richard has many fond memories of his time at Longborough, his patients, nurses and his partner of many years Brian Calvert. Many of his first patients, back in 1965, still attend Longborough regularly and we are honoured that many of their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren remain patients of the practice, too.

The lunch was a great success, Shernaz arranged a ‘Secret Santa’ for us and everybody received something special (something to smile about).

At Longborough we are committed to offering our patients a ‘first class experience,’ delivered by a dedicated team and we believe that the best way of ensuring this is through a strong professional development programme. Whilst our dentists and nurses regularly attend courses to develop their clinical skills, our whole team training focuses on customer service and good communication. Earlier this year we visited ‘Go Ape’ for a team building exercise, an occasion which took us all out of our comfort zones and involved plenty of rain and high-wire adventures. We are planning our training programme for the New Year and our priority will continue to be you, our patients, and ensuring that you receive the very best dental treatment in the comfortable environment that Longborough offers.

Practice Manager

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Monday, 20 October 2008

Orthodontic treatment watch - October

The picture above is of me, my wonderful sister Angie and my lovely aunt
and the occasion was my sister’s recent 40th birthday party.

Social occasions were something I was very concerned about before I had my Incognito lingual appliance fitted. Having researched lingual orthodontics tirelessly for two to three months on the internet the only barriers that stood in my way were ‘speech’ and ‘eating’ and of course the cost.

I had a consultation with Paul Ward and we discussed the first two issues, speech and eating. Paul has a wealth of experience in lingual orthodontics and as treasurer of the British Lingual Orthodontic Society he regularly meets with other leading orthodontists and specialists in this field. I knew his opinion would be one I could trust. He was very reassuring and his advice to me, which I can now confirm as quite accurate, was that for the first couple of weeks speech is 'interesting' but the more you do it the easier it becomes! (I have a reputation as a bit of a talker so I anticipated a fairly swift recovery to full vocal ability.)

On the issue of food and eating, Paul again gave me good advice. Certain foods are off the menu but adjusting your eating habits is quite easy and if, like me, you consider yourself to be a bit of a ‘foodie’ then I promise you will soon find a way to eat what you want. I’ve been experimenting with new pasta sauces, root vegetable mash, slow cooked beef in Madeira wine and fish of every shape and size. The list is endless. In fact, having to change my eating habits has got me experimenting again and re-energised my passion for good food.

Finally there was the issue of cost.
We live in a society in which a healthy, attractive mouth is more than vanity; it’s an expectation! I’ve spent the last 15 years wishing I had straight teeth, and I want to spend the next 40 or so smiling with confidence. I considered top and bottom veneers’ but my dental colleagues at Longborough advised me to take the orthodontic route instead. They pointed out that I could achieve a healthy, attractive smile with my own teeth. (And if I keep my oral hygiene routine up to scratch my smile should last for the rest of my life with very little maintenance.) Finally, what clinched the decision was the fact that I was able to spread payment for the treatment over a period of months on the low cost finance scheme offered by Longborough.

It was fantastic to catch up with my family again at my sister's recent 40th birthday party. No one noticed my braces, I could eat all the ‘nibbles’ my dear sister had made and people noticed my smile. No one knew exactly what had changed but there were one or two comments that I looked ‘happy.’ Maybe this was due to my renewed confidence. I am more willing to smile. I am, at last, starting to becoming proud of my teeth.

Practice Manager

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Orthodontic treatment watch - September

If you had told me 6 weeks ago that the ‘gappy’ appearance of my teeth would have disappeared within weeks, I would never have believed you. I am positively delighted with the initial results of my orthodontic treatment. I saw Paul Ward, the Longborough Orthodontist, on Friday and we looked at the 'before' treatment pictures. I’m quite amazed that so much has happened so quickly. There's still a way to go to achieve the result Paul is aiming for and my patience, with the braces, will be tested on the way (more below) but the in end it will be worth it, I'm sure.

Here are some of the side effects with
lingual orthodontics from a patients perspective:

The first challenge you have to master is speech. I lisped my way through a summer holiday and even now, 6 weeks into treatment, when I’m tired and not paying attention to my speech I find myself lisping again. However, people I speak to assure me that they are unaware of any difference (perhaps I’m being too critical). Two weeks ago on a training day in London I had to stand in front of 25 dentists and make a brief presentation – they all understood me perfectly in spite of my concerns. And each week it improves as my tongue gets accustomed to it’s new environment. (When the braces are removed next year I will probably find it difficult to adjust to life without them!)


Eating is another challenge and a whole new experience with lingual orthodontics. You have to change your diet and avoid all sorts of foods that you previously took for granted. In my case crisps, biscuits and French bread are all off the menu now. So what’s the best side effect for me? Weight loss!

I have one more regular check appointment in October, then in November the lower appliance will be fitted. I can’t say I’m looking forward to that - another month of adjusting to something else in my mouth.
But looking back on the past 6 weeks I can reassure myself that any discomfort will be short lived. I will adapt. And this year for once I am not going to gain the usual 7lbs at Christmas!

Practice Manager

Did you know it's possible to have invisible and painless orthodontic treatment as an adult? Advances in technology have allowed us to produce discreet braces which fit comfortably behind the teeth. This means you can have the perfect natural smile you have always wanted without anyone knowing you are having treatment.

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Orthodontic treatment watch - Aug 8

On Friday 8 August I had my upper Incognito lingual appliance fitted by Paul Ward. (Apparently less movement is required on my lower teeth so the lower one will be fitted in November.) The appointment went very smoothly. My only concerns were about how it was going to feel afterwards and if it would show at all. Paul reassured me that apart from the slight discomfort of keeping my mouth open during treatment, so the brackets bonded to my teeth properly in a dry environment, I would feel nothing. He was right. In fact, I nearly fell asleep!

I was expecting some discomfort in my teeth over the weekend (it’s been likened to having a headache in your teeth?). So I armed myself with pain-killers and waited for my teeth to start hurting - but they didn’t! Well not enough to bother me. So far, so good.

What I have found difficult - is talking. But I have been reassured that the more I talk the quicker my tongue will get used to the brace. (So now no one can say I talk too much, I've been advised to on medical grounds!)

I’ve had one or two ulcers on my tongue - easily relieved by the Orthosil wax Paul gave me to mould over the brackets which are causing irritation. Eating has been a bit of a challenge, but I’m getting used to what I can and can’t eat and how to eat it (trying not to make this an excuse for Ben & Jerry's Strawberry Cheesecake).

Today (Monday) is day 3 and I am now beginning to become accustomed to my appliance. I can already see movement in the teeth and I am delighted that no-one can see that I’m having orthodontic treatment. Paul Ward showed me a model of what my teeth will look like at the end of treatment and it gave me a goal to work towards. I’m so excited that in about a year’s time I will have the smile I’ve always wanted.

Practice Manager

Friday, 8 August 2008

Join the Longborough Membership Scheme

At Longborough Dental Practice we are constantly looking for ways to provide better care for our patients. And we are pleased to announce the introduction of our brand new Practice Membership Scheme designed to provide you and your family with a tailor made dental health plan.

The Longborough Membership Scheme will give you:
  • the best dental health through a regular treatment plan
  • financial control - spread the costs and pay monthly by direct debit
  • a 5% discount if you choose to pay annually
  • 10% discounted off procedures not covered by your plan
A range of options are available to suit your needs. You can also add accident and emergency cover, for complete peace of mind.

Ask one of the reception team for a leaflet or visit our website for more details of the Longborough Membership Scheme.

Ask your dentist to advise you on which plan is suitable for you.

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

It's never too late for orthodontics!

I’m Practice Manager at Longborough and I’ve worked here for 15 years. In all that time I have dreamed of having straight teeth but never wanted traditional orthodontic treatment or veneers (another method of filling unsightly gaps). The crunch came recently when we had some pictures taken for our website. I had noticed that the gap in my front teeth was getting worse and the teeth at the sides were becoming more rotated, but when I saw this picture I knew action was needed.

When I was younger I had orthodontics but never with a fixed appliance (train tracks). I attended Guy’s Hospital in London and I was treated by Professor Tulley who was very highly respected in his field at the time. The results were good but I was a teenager so naturally I didn’t wear my retainer as conscientiously as I should have. (My father Richard Hooker, a dentist himself, really had to put up with a lot.) Over time and without a retainer the gaps in my teeth opened up and they began to rotate. I just accepted my teeth for what they were. After all they were dentally fit and a good colour. I learned to live with it but I wasn't happy.

In June 2008 we were fortunate enough to be joined at Longborough by Paul Ward, a leading orthodontic specialist. When I plucked up the courage to talk to him about my teeth he immediately said he could help me get the smile I wanted. He suggested that I have ‘Lingual Orthodontics’ and not just any lingual appliance but an amazing appliance called Incognito.

Next week I am having my upper appliance fitted. I’m feeling slightly anxious about how it’s going to feel but incredibly excited about the end results. I will endeavour to keep you up to date with the treatment as it progresses via this blog. I’ve put some information about the treatment below so you can see for yourself how it works.

If you are interested and want to know more call our reception team and make an appointment with Paul.
It’s never too late for orthodontics to give you the smile you deserve.

Practice Manager

Incognito braceLingual appliances are braces fitted on the inside of the teeth and therefore hidden and “invisible.” It is still a fixed brace and therefore allows full control of tooth movement unlike clear aligners. The Incognito system is the first totally individual bracket system for lingual orthodontics and offers the highest patient comfort that is technically possible. Incognito system is only provided by Incognito certified orthodontists.

Thursday, 10 July 2008

Woaaah! – Go Ape!

At Longborough we work hard. We are committed and involved and because we set ourselves the challenge of providing the highest level of care for every patient there is the constant pressure to deliver throughout the day. To do this we rely on our training and abilities and the team around us. From the moment a patient comes in the door it is 'the team' that is of paramount importance. It requires a caring, efficient team working in perfect harmony to ensure that each patient has the very best experience.

So yesterday we had a team building day.

And it really was a success! It is recommended in all the best management handbooks. You are told to select an off-site venue and find an activity where the whole team can join in. So we went to Alice Holt Wood, near Farnham, to climb in the trees. And everyone participated.

The whole dental practice went to 'Go Ape' an outdoor climbing activity. Here's how their publicity describes it, 'The Go Ape experience at Alice Holt involves climbing, swinging, crawling and generally enjoying yourself on a series of treetop assault course-style ladders, ropes, tunnels, bridges etc. You'll experience an Ape's eye view of the Forest from heights of up to 40 feet above the ground, with stunning views over the treetops.' All true - but to make sure we would really test ourselves we went in the pouring rain.

It was brilliant and exhilarating at the same time as being nerve-wracking and mouth drying! But most of all it was very, very wet. It didn't stop raining all day! But that didn't dampen our spirits. Team Longborough were up for the challenge and we gave it our all. We swung and jumped and zipped and made lots of very strange noises! I have posted some pictures here so you can see what we got up to.

We had booked this well in advance so the weather was just bad luck on the day. But what makes 'Go Ape' such a success are the guys that run it. They are so helpful and all made apologies for the bad weather. As we were leaving they said they felt so bad about the wet conditions (it was really wet!) that they offered Longborough a special 10% discount to pass on to any of our patients who might want to try it out (in the dry). If you want to give it a go ask any of the reception team for the special 'Go Ape' 10% discount code (the discount applies from Monday to Friday). I would highly recommend this activity for the over 10’s – it's a great way to beat the holiday blues.

Personally speaking I loved every minute of it (almost). I have been scared of heights since I was a child and tackling the entire course successfully has been great therapy. In spite of the weather we had the most awesome day! And to my surprise practically everyone agreed that they would be prepared to come back for a second time. But preferably on a sunny day!

Best of all, everyone is reinvigorated and ready to get back and work harder than ever as part of the team at Longborough, delivering the very best patient care. On the ground, in the dry!

Practice Manager

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Teeth Whitening – the facts

Teeth Whitening has been available for some years but recently it has leaped to the top of the cosmetic treatments list. We are finding more and more patients are asking about teeth whitening and many are asking if there are side effects or if it can causes damage to teeth. On the other hand research shows that there is an increase of over 300% in demand for modern whitening techniques so it is quite possible some people jump right in without asking any questions at all. Well here are the answers to some of the questions we've been asked and some important facts that anyone who is considering cosmetic teeth whitening should know.

Teeth Whitening – does it work?
As dentists we would never recommend a treatment unless we were convinced that it was safe and effective. Professional teeth whitening, administered by a dentist, definitely falls into this category and there can be little doubt that it really does work. What's more the results can be an absolute transformation as the feedback we get from many happy smiling patients proves. If your dentist performs the teeth whitening procedure you can have a smile to be proud of in just a few hours. Alternatively you can take the diy route. Ask your dentist to make you a tray and perform the procedure at home over a period of several weeks. You will need to be patient and ensure you complete the full treatment plan but in the end you will be very pleased with the results.

Why do I need to whiten my teeth?
People choose to whiten their teeth to gain a more confident and attractive smile. White teeth look better, but unfortunately everyone's teeth are stained by food and drink. Over time, tea and coffee as well as red wine, soft drinks and the colorants in food all contribute to discolouration. Some medication can also cause staining and smokers’ teeth can become permanently stained if nothing is done. Tooth brushing alone cannot restore teeth affected by many years of staining. And often people whose teeth are badly discoloured may over-brush in an attempt to remove stains damaging the enamel covering of their teeth.

What happens in the teeth whitening procedure?
Teeth whitening treatment essentially lightens the colour of your teeth to improve your appearance by reducing tooth discolouration, giving you a brighter smile. The term 'whitening' is misleading however as teeth vary in colour and no one actually has white teeth. Teeth differ in shade and some people’s teeth are naturally darker than others. The actual degree of 'whiteness' achieved will vary from patient to patient but the results are invariably a great improvement.

In-surgery whitening is fast and makes an immediate difference. During the procedure whitening gel will be applied to your teeth by the dentist and a special light used to activate the gel. Once the gel is activated, it remains on your teeth for 15-20 minutes before further applications. Your teeth can be whitened by several shades and tooth shade charts may be used during the consultation to access your current tooth colour and establish your whitening goal.

For a home whitening kit you will have a custom made mouth tray created by your dentist which you will use for the treatment. The kit includes a whitening gel which is placed in the tray. You then wear the tray for a few hours a day or overnight and improvements are normally seen over a 2-4 week period. Home kits offer a flexible option and although they may take longer, the results can be as effective as in-surgery whitening.

Will I need the treatment again?
Your teeth should never darken back to their original colour completely after professional teeth whitening, but most people notice a slight fade back after 18 months to 2 years. This can easily be remedied by just a few hours use of a home whitening kit.

Will the treatment cause any damage to my teeth?
Properly administered whitening will not damage your teeth. However, whitening procedures should not be undertake without a consultation with your dentist who will examine the condition and sensitivity of your teeth and gums. Some patients may suffer temporary sensitivity as a result of the effect of the whitening gel used in the procedure, but this is usually mild and short term.

What can I do to keep my teeth white?
To help your teeth whitening treatment last as long as possible it is important to avoid food and drink that could stain your teeth for at least a week after whitening. These should also be avoided while administering the home teeth whitening treatment. It is also recommended that you stop smoking for as long as possible as this is also detrimental to your health.