Relief from clenching and grinding is in sight!

Good news for all of you who suffer from jaw joint pain, or the symptoms of clenching and grinding- we are now able to offer a new treatment!


The jaw joint is often referred to as the Temporomandibular joint or (TMJ for short) and problems related to its dysfunctids00355_im00012_mcdc7_tmj_jpgon can cause all sorts of issues, from headaches and pain in the joint to clenching and grinding, in turn leading to tooth wear and even fractured and chipped teeth.

Traditionally we have prescribed bite guards to deal with the symptoms of the clenching and grinding, but now, as the part of a more wide ranging approach in the treatment of temporomandibular jaw joint disorders, we are able to offer the Cerezen treatment.


The Cerezen device is a small custom-fitted insert (constructed from the same material used in hearing aids) that is designed to be worn in the ear canal. It works by making you aware of when you are clenching and/or grinding.  It does this because the device is designed to be in alignment with your ear canal when your jaw is Cerezen-1-TMJ_Devicesslightly open.  If you were to clench or grind your teeth, the Cerezen device will make you aware of it because it will feel out of alignment, it doesn’t hurt it just makes you think, they call it “cognitive awareness”.  It doesn’t actually interact with your joint, stop it functioning or affect it in anyway negatively.


Clinical trials of the device have shown that patients report a significant reduction in pain associated with TMJ disorder.  We also have our own direct experience of the Cerezen device here as Michelle our therapist has been using it for the last 12 months and has found that it completely removed her TMJ related pain, and alleviated the  symptoms of her clenching and grinding.  We are really excited about the potential of this device to help alleviate the many different symptoms of TMJ dysfunction, something we are increasingly seeing in our patients.

MS quote

The benefits of the Cerezen device over a bite guard are considerable, but most importantly you can wear the device 24 hours a day 7 days a week (there may be a short period of adjustment for the ear prior to being able to wear them all the time) without any loss of functionality.  Since lots of patients are experiencing the symptoms of  TMJ dysfunction (including grinding and clenching), during the day this is significant as wearing bite guards during the day is impossible for some jobs and inconvenient in most other cases. Cerezen extends the period of relief from the symptoms to all day.  It does not interfere with eating, drinking, hearing or talking, and it is not really visible at all unless you were looking for it.


There is no doubt that Cerezen is a really exciting development but there is even more good news for the suffers of TMJ dysfunction, Cerezen will be just part of the co-ordinated approach to the management of this increasingly common condition, lookout soon of news on Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy, something Michelle has recently been to the Coulson Institute of Orofacial Myology in Denver,  to study. Her initial results are proving to be extremely encouraging so far, and we will keep you up to date in the coming months!



Introducing the HUMBLE Tooth Brush…



Here at the Natural Smile we are really excited and delighted to now stock the Humble Toothbrush!

Not only will you be drawn in by the beautiful coloured bristles and different design of this bamboo toothbrush – But once you read how this little brush is moving mountains one grain of dirt at a time you’ll be rushing in to buy one.

. . Biodegradable Handle: The Handle is made out of 100% biodegradable bamboo which naturally provides a non-slip surface and feels great against the tongue and check as you brush.  They have hand carved the bamboo to give it an ergonomic grip and a sleek, timeless design. It’s amazingly sustainable too; Bamboo is the fastest growing plant on earth and being naturally antibacterial means that there is no need to use fertilizers or pesticides during its cultivation. . . If you think of how many people there are on the planet, each with a plastic toothbrush you can only imagine the mountains of plastic waste that are being made by something so small. . . .


Soft bristles, BPA-free!

The Humble brush has a soft (adult) and ultra-soft (kids) bristles that have been verified to be free from the toxin BPA (bisphenol A). The bristles are made out of nylon, a durable material that degrades over time and can be processed through regular waste channels.







Compostable packaging

It’s not just the handle that’s compostable; the Humble Brush is the full package when it comes to awareness of the environment. The brush is packed in a transparent, biodegradable, wrapper made completely out of plants and the box is made out of 100% recycled materials.






Normal lifespan

The Humble Brush has no disadvantages to conventional toothbrushes. The ecological bamboo brush will last you just as long as any mass produced plastic toothbrush. . .





Humble through and through

Humble Brush is not only humble to the environment but also to people in need! For every sold Humble Brush, they donate a toothbrush to people in need of oral care

The product itself and the company’s values are right up there with what we believe in. It’s beautifully refreshing to know that by buying a Humble Brush you too are contributing to a better environment and someone in need a new company with a big heart.


Rugby World Cup – The Importance Of Mouthguards

With the 18th Rugby World Cup season underway everyone is talking about who’s favourite to win. Alongside all the talk and hype it’s predicted that there will be an upsurge in participation especially amongst children which could lead to serious dental health issues.

It’s for this reason that the British Dental Health Foundation issued a reminder urging everyone taking up the sport to make sure they wear a mouthguard as this is an essential piece of safety in what is a very rough sport. Not wearing a mouth guard can result in injuries to lips, cheeks, tongue and jaw but most importantly to us at the Natural Smile; teeth being cracked or knocked out which could lead to horrendous pain and a lifetime of extensive and possibly expensive treatment.

Dr Nigel Carter the Chief Executive of the British Dental Health Foundation commented that: “The Rugby World Cup is a fantastic occasion for Britain and also a fantastic arena for us to spread our safety message. When you see your team run out on that pitch, every single one of them will be wearing a mouth guard, they would think it crazy not to. Mouthguards for children, therefore, should not be optional; they should be one of the first things in the kit bag. Rugby by its very nature is very physical and accidents happen, sporting injuries are a leading cause of adults losing teeth. Wearing a mouth guard is a simple and cheap way of ensuring kids safety”.

The Rugby Football Union (RFU) regulations have acknowledged the importance of mouthguards and have made them compulsory for all players above school level who are involved in rugby. If these players have to wear them then there really is no excuse for it not to be compulsory for school children. Why stop there; if we think of other games such as cricket, hockey, football, American football and boxing – any sport really which can cause broken and damaged teeth should make their players wear mouthguards. You wouldn’t let your child ride a bicycle on the main road without a helmet would you?

You can buy a regular mouth guard from a variety of places, but here at the Natural Smile we will provide you with a custom-made mouth guard which will be  molded to your own mouth and costs a mere £65. We have a variety of colours for you to choose from to make it more fun – you will agree that this is a relatively small amount of money if you consider not wearing one could lead to a lifetime of dental work!

When wearing a custom-made mouthguard it fits to your mouth exactly and not only protects your teeth and gums but can also prevent damage to the jaw, neck and even brain – preventing against concussions.

Dr Carter continues by saying: “We must take cues from other nations. New Zealand rugby saw a 43 per cent reduction in dental injuries after referees were given powers to ensure that all domestic rugby players of all ages must wear mouthguards.”

“We all take our teeth for granted. Often, it is only when we are faced with the reality of losing one, or several, that we realise just how important they are.

“Getting a child to wear a mouthguard shouldn’t prove difficult either, just point at their favourite player and they will be wearing one, as role models rugby players are great advocates for mouthguards. You can also get them in children’s favourite team colours too, so they can support their team with pride when they next run on to the pitch.”

So if you are playing rugby or your son/daughter is, there’s really no reason to call us and get a custom made mouthguard made!

Surgery two is open for business!

Well, it’s been about 9 years in the making but we finally have our second surgery open and working, and it’s gone from the finalised design back in 2005:

To this, (where the picture is looking right through where the new surgery is now)

To this, where the stud-work is up: and plaster is on: (not sure what that bath is doing there?)

To our beautiful new treatment room, where we are happily treating patients!

It’s been a long hard road and when the fitting took place during the middle of April we had a few issues to overcome, like in all projects but we are all delighted with the final outcome and hope that you will be too!

Suffer the little children..

Latest survey on our children’s dental health makes for depressing reading..

The latest large scale children’s dental health survey’s report into the dental health of children in England Wales and Northern Ireland were released last week and despite some modest improvements in some areas of children’s oral health the overwhelming picture is still pretty bleak. These results pertain to 2013 with the previous data being gathered in 2003, so they are a little behind but it’s extremely disappointing to see that around 33% of 12-year-olds and 46% of 15-year-olds have tooth decay.

The survey is data collection only it does not suggest any reasons or suggest any remedies to the problems, but it is widely believed that the amount of added sugar taken through diet is a significant factor.

There are lots ways in which to combat tooth decay in children and in adults for that matter, and some of those advocating them give powerful and persuasive arguments,  Steven Hancocks writing in the British dental journal argues strongly the case for fluoride in the water supply consistently, and I can understand that perspective, (more on our view on fluoride later) but ultimately for me I think that the danger of this approach alone is that it can remove the responsibility of the individual.  No one is born with tooth decay, and I think the way to change these depressing numbers of tooth decay in our children has to be firstly through education.  In the long term it is only in this way that the real goal of individuals managing their own oral health will be achieved, after all even if we conquered our recent addiction to sugar, there will always be some other threat to our oral health and only through good education is an individual equipped with the necessary skills to deal with whatever the ‘new sugar ‘is.

But I guess that even the most optimistic side of me can’t believe that this will be enough by itself, indeed this isn’t just a problem for us in the UK,  a recent health study showed the number one reason why children visited a hospital in New Zealand in 2014 was to get their teeth removed under general anaesthetic. Whilst I think that ultimately education is the best long term solution I think we may also need the additional help provided by water fluoridisation.

For more information on the survey please have a look here.

To have a look at the case for water fluoridisation mentioned above  have a look here

And to read more depressing news on the state of children’s teeth in New Zealand have a read here

Ventilation heralds the start of the second surgery!

Its taken a long time to get here but we are finally on the verge of beginning the work on the second surgery.  That first stage is to install some form of ventilation into the room, it having no windows.  This part of the process itself has taken a long time since we have a limited space and we wanted to  make sure that the ventilation unit we used was as environmentally friendly  that we could make it within the confines of the space limitations, this means that the unit has heat recovery which reduces energy but increases the size of it.

After working through different designs and proposal we have finally got a start date for the work, its not until the very beginning of march but it is all planned in and we can begin the next phase of work, which is the dental chair and the the cabinets.

Its an exciting time for us and hopefully will enable us to be able to offer both hygienist appointments and dental appointments on the same day as well as additional treatments such as TMJ massage amongst others.

The only downside is that I loose my dark room to lie in when it all gets too much…

Residents Parking the latest..

Just a quick update on the residents parking scheme,

you can see the original comments on the residents parking along with the maps of the areas by clicking here

So far it seems from the feedback we have had that the new system is working without too many problems.  Staff and patients seem to have been able to park reasonably well. We have had one indecent that I am aware of where a parking ticket has been issued, and its worth flagging it up, parking out the front of the surgery is only allowed between the hours of 10 and 4:30 pm, its an automatic ticket if you park outside of these Times.  The free car parks around the back of the surgery are still to this day free, although they have been experiencing quite heavy usage.  I am awaiting more information from the council on the long term future of the car parks but for the moment it seems that they will remain free.

The Parking meter has been removed from the road behind the surgery, (Charles Place) and I would think that that would be reasonable grounds for  not being able to pay for the ticket, although the usual caveats apply, to this statement in that I have no evidence that then council will accept lack of payment machine as a valid reason not to get a ticket!   The most disappointing aspect to the whole saga is that I see no evidence that this process has reduced congestion on the roads  around us, or in general in Bristol. As always any feedback on the residents parking scheme will be greatly received and I will ensure that it gets channelled back to the council.

There will be further Residents parking updates as we go along!

The Cactus toothpaste – Natural Dental Products at the Natural Smile

Are we really selling cactus toothpaste?  Not quite but the the team here at the Natural Smile are really excited about the range of new  oral hygiene products that we are now selling because they contain all sorts of natural products, including Aloe Vera, which looks like a cacti (but is actually a member of the Lilly family, but the ‘Lilly toothpaste’ just doesn’t sound the same!!).

The new members of the range are a toothpaste, a mouthwash and a lip balm and they contain extracts from natural products, such as (among other things)  tea tree oil, xylitol,  Aloe Vera.  Aloe Vera has been used for a long time as an anti inflammatory agent, so in this case could help sooth gums, xylitol is a plaque inhibitor, which is beneficial in a toothpaste and tea tree oil has been used as an antimicrobial and anti inflammatory agent.

But as good as it is to have these great natural products in the new range, it is just as exciting to not have one ingredient in the new range, that is Soduim Lauryl Sulphate or SLS as its known.

SLS is a surfactant and lathering agent, and there is some evidence to show that it is an irritant to skin, can cause a recurrence of mouth ulcers and possibly reduce the effect of the fluoride in the toothpaste.

Our new range uses a different lathering agent, sodium lauroyl sarcosinate which despite sounding the same, is a completely different compound.  It does not have a sulphate group instead it has the amino acid ‘sarcosinic acid’ (also known as sarcosine – a derivative of glycine metabolism) found naturally in the body, this results in a far milder ingredient that is not known to cause any irritation.

So why not come in and try the Alodent range of toothpastes, mouth washes and lip balms! Not a cacti  in sight!

Why brushing your teeth straight after meals isn’t always the best idea.

Mostly brushing you teeth after eating is a good idea, the reasoning being that the quicker you remove the food and the sugar from your mouth the less chance that it can cause problems. However there are some circumstances where this isn’t a good idea, specifically after eating or drinking foods with a high acid content, such as fruit juice, lemons, vinegar, wine and soft drinks.

The acid in this type of food has the effect of softening the enamel of the teeth.  If you then go and brush your teeth you stand a much higher chance of damaging the enamel.  Exposure to acidic foods or drinks is one of the main reasons that enamel wears away or erodes. This process, known as tooth erosion, leaves the dentine exposed and your teeth much more sensitive.

Since drinking a glass of fruit juice in the morning with breakfast or a glass of wine in the evening  is a common thing, this would be a key time to watch for this type of problem.  There are some specific things you can do to help to minimise the impact of the acid on your enamel.

  • Rinse your mouth out with water after eating or drinking the acid containing food or drink.
  • Use a straw to drink which has the impact of delivering the juice to the back of the mouth and bypassing some of the teeth. (you may not be able to pull this off whist drinking wine!)
  • Leave at least 30 minutes before you brush your teeth after eating something acid, this give the saliva the chance to neutralise the acids and also re mineralise the enamel.
  • Don’t use a hard bristle brush and don’t brush aggressively, you can further soften your bristis of your brush by running it under hot water.
  • Be careful with the use of electric tooth brushes, consult your dentist or hygienists to determine the right amount of electric tooth brush use.
  • Other things can also damage the enamel of your teeth, such as grinding, and this can be difficult for the individual to spot as you can do it at night, or not even be aware of it, regular checkups can help spot signs of grinding, and your dentist can then help you overcome it.

Bob Is the practice manager at the Natural Smile Dental you can also  pick up more tips on the Natural Smile’ facebook page.

Greening Up The Roots – The Journey to a Green Dentist

From December 100% of the electricity that we use at the Natural Smile will be from renewable sources, and it feels really good to know that every service that we offer , every email that we send is now being powered by the wind,water and the sun.

My next challenge is to try to decrease our reliance on natural gas, and I’m pleased to see that green gas is becoming a more realistic alternative. It works by getting microbes to break down the organic material from leftover food processes, using waste potato peelings from a chip factory for example. The by product of this is a gas that can be used in place of the natural gas we are using at the moment, what remains of the food waste is a great fertiliser.

I should add of course that there are lots of things that we are already doing to try to minimise our impact on the environment.

We only use LED lighting in the practice which cuts the energy consumption, we use only recycled paper and where possible use vegetable based inks.

We have cut our car journeys to and from the practice, almost by 50% recently, and have enjoyed taking the train to the recent dental shows.  Our computer upgrade last year switched out large power hungry pcs for small solid state minimal power alternatives, our hardware team believe that all of them take about as much power as just one of the old ones!

All of the paints that we used and still use are low VOC’s (volatile organic compounds), all of the wood we use is FSC certified.

A few years ago we undertook an exercise to see how many of the chemicals that we use in the practice we can replace with natural products, first out the door were the industrial dental industry standard cleaners and disinfectants that we used, replaced with excellent non harmful alternatives, by the time we finished the exercise the most harmful item that we had in the surgery was the Ecover dishwasher tablets!

Each one of these areas (and the many other initiatives that we are undertaking, not mentioned here) are worthy of their own piece and when I get the time I might just give them the time they deserve!

The Big challenge once I have gotten to grips with the Eco-gas, is minimising the carbon footprint of the dental equipment that we use.  This one is tricky because there isn’t much appetite in the dental industry for this type of thinking most of it tends to be determined by cost, but I aim to change that, even if only in a small way!

Bob Is the practice manager at the Natural Smile Dental you can also  pick up more tips on the Natural Smile’ facebook page.