01444 233454
Your questions answered

Help and Advice

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


How do I book an appointment?

Dentist appointment date on calendar.Please ring (01444 233454) email (info@burgesshilldental.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 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.


Do you charge if I miss or cancel an appointment?

1-depositphotos_80765774_originalThere are no fees charged for any appointments cancelled or changed with at least 2 working days notice. When appointments are cancelled with less notice we will do our very 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. (eg. an examination appointment would incur a charge of £40) This fee also applies to any appointments missed or forgotten and is the same for patients belonging to Denplan and Private patients. 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. (Our practice lost over 40 full working days of surgery time last year as a result of cancellations and missed appointments. Not only does this have an effect on costs and therefore prices, it also means lots of patients, some in pain, had their treatment delayed).


What is Denplan Care?

denplan-logoDenplan plays a leading role in private dentistry, helping more people to access and afford high quality preventive dental care. Unlike fee per item private dentistry where patients pay for treatment after each session, Denplan allows patients to budget for high-quality preventive dentistry, with an affordable monthly payment. This monthly payment covers all routine dental care including examinations, advice, radiographs, hygienist appointments where clinically appropriate, fillings, root fillings, extractions etc. There is usually nothing further to pay when you visit the practice other than for Crowns or Dentures which involve a laboratory work. Patients on Denplan Care Plans will pay 40% of the normal private fee for crowns and dentures etc. It also does not cover referral to a specialist (should that be needed for example for a difficult wisdom tooth extraction, for orthodontics or for specialist gum treatments).

Denplan Care includes benefits such as Supplementary Insurance, which provides patients with worldwide dental injury and dental emergency cover. Patients are placed in a charging band from A to E dependant on their dental history and reflecting likely future dental needs. Our current monthly charges for these bands are

A: £17.70
B: £25.90
C: £33.75
D: £46.32
E: £53.46

The beauty of Denplan lies in the fact you can budget for your dental care and there are no big unexpected bills to pay.

For more information on Denplan, visit their website.


and Denplan Essentials?

2Denplan Essentials is a bit of a halfway house between Denplan Care and private pay as you go dental care. You pay a monthly fee which entitles you to hygienist and dentist appointments each year. The number of hygiene and dentist appointments needed annually is tailored to your individual needs and the monthly fee reflects this. The amount you pay each year is less than you would pay if you were paying for each appointment separately and supplementary insurance covering accidents or emergency care is also included. So it is a really good deal. If you need any additional treatment (a filling for example) you will pay privately for this, but we reduce our normal fee charges by 10% for patients on Denplan Essential.

£9.00   (1 Dental Health Check Up with your Dentist & 1 Hygienist Visit Annually + Supplementary insurance and routine radiographs included and 10% discount on any other treatment)
B £16.40 (2 Dental Health Check Ups with your Dentist & 2 Hygienist Visits Annually + Supplementary insurance and routine radiographs included and 10% discount on any other treatment)
C £22.41 (2 Dental Health Check Ups with your Dentist & 4 Hygienist Visits Annually + Supplementary insurance and routine radiographs included and 10% discount on any other treatment)

For more information on Denplan, visit their website.


Do you do NHS Treatment?

2Over the years changes have been introduced to the NHS dental system, which we felt made it increasingly difficult to provide a standard of care we were comfortable with and which we knew our patients deserved. We have progressively reduced our commitment to the NHS and currently we just offer NHS care as an option for the children of Private and Denplan patients.


Do you do Orthodontics (Tooth straightening)?

Teeth with bracesOrthodontics is a very specialised branch or dentistry, and we believe to consistently get the best results it needs to be carried out by dentists who only do orthodontics.

Orthodontic experts have had many years of extra training, and are very experienced at solving problems when situations are not totally straight forward. We are very lucky to have a branch of Total Orthodontics very close to us in Haywards Heath. We have absolute confidence in their skills and integrity. They will do the very best treatment for you, in beautiful modern surroundings …and they are really nice people. They really do create simply spectacular smiles! They offer NHS and private treatment for children and private treatment for adults.


Do you do Invisalign?

1-invisalign2345-960x403Yes we do!

Invisalign is a state of the art tooth straightening system using almost invisible computer designed plastic gum shields which gently guide teeth into place over a period of time. Please ask for a free consultation appointment with Henry and he will assess your suitability for this treatment.

For more information on Invisalign, visit their website.


What about implants?

Dental implantsImplants are amazing. Providing implants (like orthodontics) is a very specialised and new branch of dentistry. We believe to get the very best results for you it should only be provided by implant experts who have received several years of additional training and who just do implants. We are again very fortunate to have the leading implant centre in the south-east on our doorstep in Haywards Heath and Hove www.theimplantcentre.com.

In some circumstances, we are able to restore the implant (put the crown on the titanium post) for you once it has been placed. This can sometimes reduce costs for you and save time. We will be able to advise you if this is possible or appropriate.


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

woman tooth acheThis is a very good question! The problem is it doesn’t necessarily follow that not having any pain means you don’t have any dental problems. 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 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!


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

Medical autoclave for sterilising surgical and other instrumentsWe adhere to all the latest government regulations advice and guidelines regarding equipment, cross infection and decontamination. 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!


How can I pay my bill?

British Sterling PoundsYou can either pay for your dental care through Denplan via a monthly direct debit or if you prefer to pay as you go for dental treatment you can pay 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 will not normally send invoices, though naturally, we will always give you a receipt for your payment.


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

Tooth and Medicine chestPlease telephone the practice on 01444 233454 as soon as possible. We will do everything we can to help you. 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 and you cannot wait till opening time, please telephone and listen to the answer phone message which will give you instructions on accessing our out of hours emergency service.


What guarantees do you offer on treatment?

new documentWe offer a 12-month standard guarantee on all our fillings, crowns, bridges and dentures. However, on top of this we will always assess each case on its merits, and if we believe an item needs replacing because of something we could have done better, we will redo it free of charge whether it is under guarantee or not. We always try to be fair and reasonable and to treat you the way we would like to be treated ourselves.

Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee root fillings (as even perfect technique does not 100% guarantee a successful outcome), nor can we guarantee treatments that you request against our advice. For example, if we advise that the only suitable treatment for a broken tooth is a crown, and you request we do the best filling we can in the circumstances, we will always try to do what you would prefer but we cannot guarantee that filling will last.


Do I really need to use floss tape or Tepes?

woman cleaning her teethYou already know the answer to this one! Only floss the teeth you want to keep! It doesn’t matter how well you brush your teeth you will not get rid of the plaque (bacteria and food) in between your teeth without using something designed to clean in between. If you don’t clean in between you will get gum disease here. Your gums will bleed, your breath may smell, you will eventually start to lose the bone that supports the teeth. It won’t happen overnight and some people are much more susceptible to the problem than others, but if you can get into good habits and routines and use some tape or tepe brushes every day… then you are well on your way to keeping your teeth and gums healthy for life. You know it makes sense!!!


I’m really scared of the dentist. Can you help me ?

Scared patient at dentist officeMany people feel a bit nervous at the thought of seeing the dentist, particularly a new dentist. Sometimes this fear or phobia is so severe it will stop people coming to see us unless they are in really severe pain. It could be you’ve had bad experiences as a child and the smells and sounds in the surgery bring those memories back, or your fear is very specific and you are really scared of injections or the slow drill. Whatever your problem is we can help!

The first thing to do is make an appointment and tell us you are nervous. You will find us sympathetic and friendly. We are nice and we don’t tell people off! We will listen to you and will do everything we can to help. We use bubble gum flavoured cream to numb your gum before we give injections, we put you in charge so if you ever want us to stop you just wave at us and we stop. We go at your pace and we do treatment in short bursts.

You mustn’t feel worried about telling us to stop if you’ve had enough. We have lots of pictures on the ceiling for you to look at and we play music. Usually Radio 2, but you are very welcome to bring your own. One of our most nervous patients finds listening to Wham helps !? And you are very welcome to bring a friend or relative with you. Sometimes this is not enough and we will with some patients for more difficult treatments give you Valium tablet to take which can really help you feel a lot more relaxed. We don’t however ‘put you to sleep’ or give ‘gas’. If we find this is the best way for you to receive treatment we will refer you to a specialist centre where they can use general anaesthetic or intravenous sedation. The more you come to see us the more you fear should lessen, and regular dental care can become a normal part of your life. Honestly! For further help and information on Dental Phobias contact the British Dental Health Foundation’s Dental Helpline on 0845 0631188.

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


I think I’ve got bad breath. What can I do to get rid of it?

Co-worker bad breath!Try licking the inside of your wrist and sniff! If it doesn’t smell nice the chances are your breath doesn’t smell nice either.

Bad breath is most commonly caused by the smelly gases produced by the bacteria coating your teeth and gums. Food debris trapped in between the teeth can also start to decompose and cause a very unpleasant odour. So effective and regular tooth brushing and cleaning in between your teeth with dental tape or interdental brushes and cleaning your tongue is crucial to keep your breath fresh. Our dentists and hygienists can help show you the best ways of keeping your mouth really clean.

Strong foods like garlic coffee and onions and smoking, of course, adds to the problem, as can having a dry mouth caused by certain medical conditions and some prescribed drugs and mouth breathing. Artificial saliva products may help.

Infections in the throat nose lungs or sinuses and diabetes liver or kidney problems may also cause bad breath. If we can’t find a dental cause for your problem we may refer you to your doctor.

Mouthwashes can help. The minty ones will temporarily mask the smell but antibacterial mouthwashes (Purple Listerine, Corsodyl) will help get rid of the bacteria that cause the problem. Ultradex mouthwash is very effective and will neutralise the sulphur compounds that smell so unpleasant. Chewing sugar fee gum can also help by stimulating saliva flow.

UltraDEX products generally are extremely successful in the treatment of bad breath. Bad breath is a very embarrassing and difficult complaint we have found UltraDEX mouthwash and toothpaste, combined with tongue scraping, works on people who have tried everything else.


How does smoking affect my mouth?

detail of cigaretteThe 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 also increases you risk of developing mouth and throat (and obviously lung) cancers. Smoking reduces the blood and oxygen supply to the gums. Quite often this will mean that if you smoke your gums don’t bleed (the first warning sign of gum disease), even though they are very unhealthy. If you are thinking about quitting please go to http://smokefree.nhs.uk where you should find lots of information support and advice to help you. In the mean time smokers toothpaste or whitening toothpaste will help remove some stain. The Philips Sonicare electric toothbrush is also effective at reducing stain. Mouthwashes such as the purple coloured Listerine will help mask bad breath and may have some effect on the progress of gum disease. 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.

For more information, visit NHS Smokefree.


What are the signs of mouth cancer?

Patient mouth open and dentist examining with angled mirror in dental clinicMouth 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 which 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.

Mouth cancer is most common in patients over 40 who smoke cigarettes or a pipe and drink alcohol. Mouth cancer kills over 1,700 people in the UK every year. Many of these deaths could be prevented if the cancer is caught early enough.


Why do I need to see the hygienist?

Closeup on young woman brushing teethHygienists are specially trained to thoroughly scale and polish teeth and are expert at teaching you how to look after your teeth and gums at home. To be honest they will often do a better job than most dentists, because they are gum specialists, and because they can spend more time with you finding the best routines tools and techniques to help you keep your mouth plaque-free. Some people are more susceptible to gum disease and need more help keeping their mouths healthy. If your dentist has asked you to see one of our hygienists it is because they feel it will make a significant difference to your oral health.

We think hygienists get bad press a lot of the time! We do hear people say “She made my gums bleed and it hurt”. Your gums probably will bleed when you see the hygienist even if they don’t bleed when you brush them normally because your hygienist is cleaning areas you are missing, and aren’t healthy. Your hygienist isn’t damaging your gums she’s identifying areas that need more attention. And if it does hurt at all please say something, we have various techniques which can help including a new gel called oraquix which will numb your gum. Ask your hygienist for details. Our hygienists are kind and sympathetic, they really want you to improve your oral health to help you keep your teeth for life.

Find out more about our hygiene services.


My dentist said I have Lichen Planus. What is that?

downloadWe have usually seen white patches on the lining of your mouth (cheeks tongue on gums) Usually on both sides of your mouth. You may be totally unaware of them, but sometimes they can get sore and ulcerated and you may find it difficult eating hot or spicy foods.

Oral lichen planus is more common in women than men and usually starts in middle age (whatever age that is!). We don’t know what causes it. It isn’t an infection but may be an autoimmune disease sometimes triggered by some medicines. Unless it is giving symptoms we don’t usually treat it, but if it is, then we usually use oral steroids. It doesn’t usually go away. But can be very ‘quiet’ for long periods of time.

Very, very occasionally lichen planus can develop into mouth cancer. This is rare but if you have this condition it is important you see your dentist regularly to have it checked.


My dentist said I have geographic tongue. What on earth is that?

2aGeographic tongue is quite common and never dangerous. Basically, your tongue resembles a map because the top surface will develop smooth red areas with wavy white lines which looks like a map. The posh name is erythema migrans. The migraines bit refers to the fact the map changes because the position of these smooth red areas changes with time. For some reason we don’t understand yet the top layer of the tongue is not shed evenly and so leaves a red area a bit like a scratch on the skin.

It affects all age groups. It can run in families. It is not contagious. There is no treatment. And it isn’t dangerous! Spicy foods and citrus foods might make your tongue sore.


What is denture stomatitis? (thrush)

2-abIt is a fungus called candida or thrush which causes an infection in the mouth. This is commonly seen under dentures especially when dentures are worn at night, and in Diabetics or people who take inhaled steroids (Asthmatics) and if you take a lot of antibiotics, but anyone can get it. It is not contagious. You will have very red areas in your mouth under your denture (if you wear one) and you may have red sore areas at the corner of your lips.

Like lots of fungal infections, it isn’t easy to get rid of! The best advice is to practice really good oral hygiene. Don’t wear dentures at night. Don’t smoke. Soak dentures in Corsodyl mouthwash. Your dentist may prescribe some medication.


Can I still go to the dentist if I have a cold sore?

Lip infection with the herpes virusCold sores are a real pain, caused by the Herpes Simplex virus, usually triggered by Sunlight (sun block on lips helps) or being ill with something else. They are very infectious particularly when blistering. Antiviral creams such as Acyclovir which you can buy ‘over the counter’ should be applied as soon as first signs appear and often.

Should you still see your dentist? Depends really on where it is. Dental treatment might aggravate it, make it crack and bleed which could prolong healing. Probably best to ring and check with your dentist. BREAKING NEWS ..We may be able to accelerate the healing of your cold sore using our laser. Please ring for help.


Do I need to wear a mouth guard ?

1-depositphotos_6573961_originalA mouth guard is a specially made rubber like cover which fits exactly over your teeth and gums protecting them, and cushioning them from damage. It also can help protect against damage to the jaw and neck and even the brain, helping prevent a concussion from a heavy blow. It is really important to wear one whenever you play a sport that involves physical contact or a moving ball. Cricket, Hockey, Football, American Football, Boxing and Rugby are the most obvious sports. We can make one for you which will fit exactly and protect your teeth and gums properly. Mouth guards need replacing as teeth change position. Children who haven’t got all their second teeth will need new mouth guards more frequently to accommodate the new shape of their mouths and teeth. You can buy a kit to make your own mouth guard which are cheaper. Unfortunately, these don’t always fit well and don’t provide the best protection. The biggest problem is they are more uncomfortable so tend to stay in your kit bag, not in your mouth!

We can make some really great looking mouth guards in every conceivable colour and even in your team colours.


What do I do if I knock a tooth out?


  • Find the tooth…if it is clean push it gently back into the socket yourself .. Make sure it is the facing the right way! Come and see us ASAP.
  • If it isn’t clean or you are not confident about pushing it back yourself. Put the tooth in either a container of milk or your mouth. Do not swallow it.
  • Get to see us as soon as you can, ideally within 60 minutes. If you can’t get to us try another dentist or hospital. If you belong to Denplan ring them for help.
  • Take painkillers if you need to. Avoid aspirin as it may encourage further bleeding.
  • Don’t handle the tooth by the root. It has fragile ligaments which need to be kept intact if it is to be successfully replaced.
  • Don’t try to clean it with disinfectant or water. Don’t let it dry out. Just put it in a container of milk.
  • Don’t panic! Teeth can and are successfully put back in! We may need to splint the tooth in position and you will almost certainly need further work on it later on.

Baby teeth get knocked out and we don’t try to re-implant them and if an adult tooth has not been knocked out in one piece it may not be possible to re-implant it, we will always do everything we can to help.


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

2-abcdDiet coke is better than ‘full fat’ coke because it has no sugar in it and therefore doesn’t cause tooth decay, however, all cokes and fizzy drinks contain carbonic acid which means you are essentially bathing your teeth in a weak acid and this destroys enamel (dental erosion). This causes disfiguring tooth loss and pain and sensitivity. The odd can isn’t a problem but we know lots of 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 to reduce your intake or better still stop it completely. Use a straw and never ’swish’ drinks around your mouth to reduce tooth damage. We sometimes see children as young as 13 whose permanent front teeth are notched (see the picture.. technically called ‘sippers gob’!) where the hole matches in shape the hole in the top of the can! Alcopops and fruit juices can also be damaging. Water, milk and dilute low sugar squashes are the best things to drink. Sometimes the damage can be repaired using tooth coloured fillings bonded to the teeth or in more severe cases using porcelain veneers. Duraphat toothpaste (very high in fluoride) can help prevent further damage.


Are dental X-rays dangerous?

1-depositphotos_67907659_originalThe amount of radiation received from a dental Xray is extremely small. We have recently invested in new digital radiography technology which reduces the radiation exposure still further. Radiation is present all around us all the time. You get about the same amount of radiation from having two dental Xrays as you do travelling on a flight to Spain. We take your safety and ours very seriously.

We use x rays to take radiographs which give us much more information about your teeth and mouth than we can see just by looking. It can show us decay in between the teeth or under old fillings which if treated early is much easier and less expensive than waiting until the problem becomes obvious. They can show us the position of second teeth and what your wisdom teeth roots are doing. We usually take radiographs every 2 years.


What are the dangers of mouth piercing?

woman show piercing

  • Local infection
  • Inflammation of tongue and mouth causing breathing problems
  • Blood infection
  • Chipping and breaking of teeth
  • Oral hygiene can be compromised

We wouldn’t recommend it but if you are going to have it done ask how they sterilise their instruments. You need to know they are autoclaved to clean them properly.


My teeth are really sensitive. What can I do to treat it?

Woman with hypersensitive teeth eating ice lollySensitive teeth are usually triggered with cold food (ice cream?) or drinks, or touch (toothbrush or fingernail?) or sweet foods (chocolate?). The pain is severe but only lasts for a few seconds. If you get pain that lasts longer than this and is triggered more with hot things more than cold you have a toothache not sensitivity!

Sensitivity can be caused by exposing the more sensitive dentin on your teeth either by brushing too hard or drinking /eating too many acidic foods, fizzy drinks white wine, fruit juice (orange juice and yogurt for breakfast followed by aggressive brushing with a hard brush is guaranteed to give you pain!) The solution is to limit exposing your teeth to acid attack, cleaning with a Braun or Sonicare electric toothbrush (Walk don’t brush)(don’t scrub!) and using toothpaste for sensitive teeth (there are lots about .. Sensodyne probably most well known). Use the toothpaste as an ointment…rub it into the sensitive areas and leave it there.

If you find no improvement come and see us!


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

ToothbrushesYes, Bacteria from the mouth can get into the bloodstream 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 than those without gum problems. To prevent gum disease you need to make sure you remove all the plaque from your teeth every day. Our dentists and hygienists can help you find the best tools techniques and routines to keep your mouth and the rest of your body healthy.


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

Unhappy womanWe 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. While we won’t say we welcome complaints (because that would be ridiculous!) we do genuinely believe a negative comment gives us an opportunity to improve not only our service but also our relationship with you. So if you are unhappy please tell us. There are several things you can do. If it is something small, please write on one of the patient comment cards in the waiting rooms and put it in our suggestion box in reception. We look at these regularly and discuss your comments at every staff meeting. It is because of your feedback that we have re-upholstered the waiting room chairs downstairs, increased appointments outside normal working hours and we are continually trying to find magazines to suit everyone!

If it is something clinical please do initially talk to your dentist. They will always do everything they can to resolve problems. If you are uncomfortable discussing things with your dentist for any reason, or if a non-clinical issue cannot be sorted out by our reception team, then please ask to speak to Alison Meredith our Practice Manager. Alternatively, you could write or 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.

In the unlikely event, we are unable to resolve your complaint to your satisfaction and you would like to progress it further, please speak to our practice manager who will provide you with written comprehensive information to help you to do this effectively.

To view the practice’s Complaints Procedure please click here.

If you cannot find the answers to any of your questions here please email using the form below and we will do our very best to help you.

Come and talk to us

Pop in for a chat, and we’ll show you around and talk you through what we offer over a coffee or a tea.

Just fill in your details on the form to the right and we’ll call you back.

Burgess Hill Dental Care, 75 Station Rd, Burgess Hill RH15 9DY, United Kingdom info@burgesshilldental.co.uk 01444 233454 Call us on: 01444 233454