Author Archives: Smile Essential

Essential Invisalign Information…

If you have been looking at your options to straighten your teeth, then you have likely heard about Invisalign.

Invisalign treatment involves wearing clear aligners over your teeth, so they are pretty discreet. Invisalign treatment uses one of the worlds most advanced systems. They work by gently exerting pressure on key areas to align (hence being known as aligners) the teeth into a more desirable position. The aligners are designed to be changed every 1-2 weeks as the teeth can only be moved a small amount at a time.

Here are some frequently asked questions about Invisalign we hear at our Leicester dental practice about Invisalign:

How does Invisalign Work?

Invisalign works by gently exerting pressure on your teeth to move them into the correct position. Each aligner is changed every 7-14 days so it can adjust the pressure in the right spots as your teeth move.

Is Invisalign discreet?

Absolutely. The clear aligners make them virtually undetectable at a social distance. They are one of the most discreet cosmetic brace systems available on the market.

Will Invisalign affect my lifestyle?

You should wear your Invisalign aligners day and night. They can be taken out to eat, drink and clean your teeth. This is often a big bonus for patients that have previously had conventional orthodontics as you have to adjust the food you eat.

Does it hurt?

It’s generally considered less painful than traditional fitted brace systems. Most people being treated with Invisalign report some discomfort when changing their aligners. This usually dissipates shortly after.

Will Invisalign work for me?

Invisalign isn’t a suitable treatment option for everyone. That’s why we always invite people in for a consultation. Our Leicester dentists can have a chat with you to see if Invisalign would be suitable. They would also advise you of your other options, including if an alternative treatment with an orthodontist would be more appropriate. If it is decided that this is the right treatment for you, we will invite you back for a more detailed assessment.

How long does Invisalign take?

This depends on the position of your teeth and the complexity of your case. Invisalign can take as little as three months. Your Invisalign provider will be able to provide you with an approximate timeline once the Invisalign treatment process has begun.

How much does Invisalign cost?

Again this depends on your personalised Invisalign treatment plan. However, your Invisalign provider will be able to give you an approximate cost at a complimentary consultation. It’s essential when looking at the cost of Invisalign treatment; you check what is covered. Such as retainers following the treatment to keep your teeth in place and any added benefits such as free teeth whitening.

If you would like to arrange a consultation or have questions about Invisalign clear brace treatment in Leicester, then you can contact us at or call 0116 2891317.

Say hello to Lauren!

This lovely young lady behind the mask is Lauren. Lauren works with us as a Decontamination Operative at Smile Essential.
In her role as a Decontamination Operative, Lauren is responsible for putting our patients’ interests first and acts to protect them by carrying out procedures to control cross-infection in the dental surgery, an important aspect of patient protection. Lauren also supports the dentists and nurses before dental procedures and ensures that the surgery operates efficiently.

Some fun facts about Lauren!
🧠👩🏽‍⚕️ When Lauren was growing up, she wanted to a Brain Surgeon! (We’re impressed, Lauren!)
⚽️ Lauren loves football and supports Liverpool.
👩‍👧💕 Spot a familiar face? Lauren is also our Receptionist Adeles daughter!
👕👖In her free time, Lauren loves collecting designer clothes and driving. 🚗
🎬🍿 Her favourite film is Contagion, and her favourite TV show is Rick and Morty.

Lauren says that she enjoys working with the rest of the dental team and getting everything organised.

We asked Lauren why she thinks it’s important to visit the dental practice and her answer was perfect! She believes keeping on top of your dental health is essential to prevent illness and pain and that a good smile lightens up your face! We think she’s right!

6 Health Conditions That Can Be Affected By Having an Unhealthy Mouth…

We all know that not brushing and flossing can have a significant impact on your teeth and gums. But not everyone understands the effect that oral health has on your overall health. Brushing and flossing are more important than you might think. Of course, you’re probably aware of brushing and flossing for better dental health, but are you aware that your mouth health can directly affect your overall health?

The mouth is the gateway to your body, and often if you have a healthy mouth, you will have a healthy body. The mouth is teeming with bacteria — most of them harmless. Usually, the body’s natural defences and good oral hygiene, such as daily brushing and flossing, help keep these bacteria under control. However, without proper dental care, bacteria can reach high levels that might lead to tooth decay and gum disease.


Inflammation impairs the body’s ability to utilise insulin. By improving your oral hygiene and treating gum disease, you can help bring diabetes under better control.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Treating periodontal disease has been shown to reduce pain caused by rheumatoid arthritis.

Heart Disease

Though the reasons are still not fully understood, it is clear that gum disease and heart disease often go hand in hand. Up to 91% of patients with heart disease also have periodontitis. It’s suspected that periodontitis has a direct role in raising the risk of heart disease. The theory is that inflammation in the mouth causes inflammation in the blood vessels.


Two studies have linked obesity to gum disease. It appears that periodontitis progresses more quickly in the presence of higher body fat.


Hormonal changes during pregnancy can increase a woman’s risk of gum related problems. Periodontitis has been linked to premature birth and low birth weight. Researchers are looking into the connection, but it is believed that gum infection and inflammation, in general, seem to interfere with a fetus’ development in the womb.

Lung Conditions

Periodontal disease may make pneumonia and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease worse, possibly increasing the number of bacteria in the lungs.

In summary

It’s important to understand that the body and mouth are not separate. Taking good care of your teeth and gums can help you live well for longer. To protect your oral health, practice good oral hygiene every day by doing the following:

• Brush your teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste

• Floss or use interdental brushes daily

• Eat a healthy balanced diet and limit snacks between meals

• Replace your toothbrush every three or sooner if needed

• Have regular dental health checks

• Avoid tobacco and excessive alcohol

5 things we wish our patients knew to keep their teeth healthy this Christmas…

Using your teeth as a tool

Everyone knows that we shouldn’t use our teeth to open things such as bottles but it is one worth remembering because it still seems to happen an awful lot!

We have heard of teeth being used to do all sorts of things such as cracking nuts and tearing off tags. Be mindful of how precious your teeth are and grab a tool instead of your teeth.

Fizzy drinks

I’m sure you don’t need us to tell you that fizzy drinks such as coke and lemonade are bad for your teeth. But did you know that other fizzy drinks such as Prosecco, Champagne and the Christmas favourite – Bucks Fizz can also pose a risk?

It isn’t just the sugar you have to worry about with these drinks but the acidity. Every time you sip on this drink, the PH level in your mouth alters for around 20 minutes. 

Now we don’t want to spoil your fun it is Christmas after all. You can minimise damage by trying to drink them at mealtimes, snack on cheese, also sipping water and not drinking it too frequently. 

Sticky sweets

We hate sticky sweets they are literally the worse things for your teeth! Our top villain – TOFFEE. Toffee may be delicious but it is one of the toughest things you can eat. If you have any dental work, then toffee should be completely avoided!

Sticky sweets really hang around. They stick to every nook and cranny and hang around long after you’ve finished eating them.


If you have some teeth that have large fillings in you may already avoid nuts. But often over Christmas, they seem to make an appearance. Whilst nuts are a healthy snack they can pose a real threat to causing a broken tooth. If nuts are a must for you then practice mindful chewing and sticking to softer nuts such as cashews and avoided the harder ones such as Brazil and Hazelnuts.


Eating is such a huge part of Christmas and we can end up munching all day. Many people are unaware that it is the frequency of consuming sugary or acidic foods that causes the most damage. After you eat your PH level is altered from twenty minutes up to an hour. If you graze all day, this means that you are not leaving anytime for your mouth to recover.

You can minimise the damage by reducing how much of the day you spend eating and drinking and also choosing better snacks for your teeth. Snacking on cheese, vegetables and sipping water is a great way to keep your mouth in better shape.

Be mouthaware: The 45 second check that could save your life

Are you able to recognise the changes in your mouth? That’s the question posed by Smile Essential as they support a charity campaign to raise awareness of mouth cancer.

Smile Essential, based on Narborough Road, is urging Leicester residents to be more mouthaware and recognise the early warning signs of mouth cancer, ahead of November’s Mouth Cancer Action Month.

With awareness of the disease remaining alarmingly low, Smile Essential say that a simple 45-second check is often all that’s needed to identify anything unusual and be able to then seek professional guidance.

Dr. Niket Patel from Smile Essential says: “Early diagnosis transforms our chances of beating mouth cancer from 50 per cent to 90 percent so it is crucial that we know what to look out for and that we do not hesitate in seeking advice from a health professional.

“A mouth ulcer that does not heal within three weeks, red or white patches in the mouth and unusual lumps or swellings in the mouth or head and neck area, can all be potential signs of mouth cancer so it’s important to be aware of any changes occurring inside your mouth.

“Quite often it is easier to notice lumps and bumps on the outside of the body or to dismiss a mouth ulcer as benign. Most of us will spend at least a few minutes every day in front of a mirror brushing our teeth so while we’re there it makes sense to have a quick look inside the mouth.

“If you keep a lookout for these symptoms then a simple 45-second check really could save your life.

“If you notice anything out of the ordinary, please speak to your dentist or a doctor.”

Mouth Cancer Action Month takes place throughout November and is organised by the Oral Health Foundation.

Last year, 8,722 people in the UK were diagnosed with mouth cancer.  The number of new cases has doubled in the last 20 years, making it one of the UK’s fastest increasing cancers.

Survival rates of mouth cancer have barely improved in the last 20 years and the oral health charity is concerned that too many are mouth cancers are being diagnosed at a late stage, significantly reducing our chance to beat the disease.

Chief Executive of the Oral Health Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter OBE added: “Mouth cancer can appear anywhere in the mouth including the lips, tongue, cheek, throat and gums.

“Mouth cancer can have a devastating effect on a person’s life, impacting on their breathing, eating and speech. Reconstructive surgery could also change their appearance while the experience often has an impact on confidence and self-esteem.

“By developing a greater understanding about the early warning signs and symptoms, the lifestyle factors which increase our risk, and recognising where to go if we notice anything unusual inside our mouth, we can detect mouth cancer early. This will not only improve our chances of beating it but will also reduce the amount of invasive surgery needed to treat it.

“During every dental check-up, your dentist will do a visual examination for mouth cancer and look for anything that might be a cause for concern. That’s why it’s so important to keep regular dental check-ups – it’s not just about the health of our teeth and gums – a trip to the dentist could really be a lifesaver.”

To find out more information about mouth cancer and Mouth Cancer Action Month, please visit

Here’s how your oral health affects your overall health…

The mouth is one the main gateway into your body people are often surprised to discover the connection between having a healthy mouth and a healthy body. Your mouth is full of bacteria in a healthy mouth most of them generally harmless. The body’s natural defences and good oral hygiene practices, such as twice-daily brushing and interdental cleaning help to keep these bacteria under control. But without good dental care, these bacteria can reach very high levels leading to problems such as gum disease and tooth decay.

Dentists and scientists are looking to see if good oral hygiene practices can also help to defend you against COVID-19. 

Having poor dental health has been associated with the following health conditions:


Gum disease causes inflammation. Inflammation impairs the body’s ability to utilise insulin. By improving your oral health and getting any gum disease treated can help you to bring diabetes under better control.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Gum disease bacteria has been linked to rheumatoid arthritis. Research is still ongoing but the NHS has published some information which makes for interesting reading if your suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. You can read it here…

Heart Disease

It’s clear that heart disease and gum disease often go hand in hand. Up to 91% of patients with heart disease also have periodontitis. It is suspected that periodontitis has a direct role which increases the risk of heart disease. The theory is that inflammation in the mouth causes inflammation in the blood vessels.


Periodontal disease occurs in patients more susceptible to inflammation — who are also more susceptible to obesity. It is suspected that by treating one it can directly affect the other. More research is continuing in this area.


Hormonal changes during pregnancy can increase a woman’s risk of gum related problems. Periodontitis has been linked to premature birth and low birth weight. Researchers are looking into the connection but it is believed that gum infection and inflammation, in general, seem to interfere with a fetus’ development in the womb.

Lung Conditions

Gum disease/periodontitis can worsen chronic inflammation in lung diseases such as asthma and COPD. If your gums are inflamed or infected they can send out a “distress signal” that places the rest of the body on alert.

Having a healthy mouth is an absolute must for better overall health. The mouth and body are not separate and both need to be healthy for improved overall health. Taking good care of your mouth can help you live well for longer. 

Excellent care of your oral health is actually pretty straightforward. It’s a combination of good oral health care and daily practices.

• Brush your teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste

• Floss or use interdental brushes daily

• Eat a healthy balanced diet and limit snacks between meals

• Replace your toothbrush every three or sooner if needed

• Have regular dental health checks

• Avoid tobacco and excessive alcohol

If you’re concerned about your oral health please get in touch with us by calling us on 0116 2891317 or emailing us

Do you know the 4 early signs that could mean you have tooth decay?

Very early tooth decay can often go unnoticed. Sometimes signs and symptoms of dental decay don’t present themselves immediately and often people will overlook any signs as the tooth decay progresses.

So here are our top 4 early indicators for you to look out for:

1) Discolouration- white, grey or black spots. These could all indicate that tooth decay may be present.

2) Sensitivity- sensitivity to hot, cold and/or sweet things could all be an indicator of tooth decay. If you notice that there is one particular tooth or area that is sensitive and you don’t generally suffer from sensitive teeth, then this could be an indicator of tooth decay.

3) Bad Breath. The bacteria present in tooth decay can cause bad breath. If there is a hole (cavity) in the tooth then the smell could also be coming from food that is being trapped and is rotting.

4) Toothache or tenderness. This is usually the point that someone calls to book an appoinmrnt. Often people will wait until they experience toothache before realising that they have dental decay.

By far the most simple and effective way of detecting early tooth decay is by visiting your dentist. The equipment used by our Leicester dentists will often detect tooth decay before any of the above signals appear and the tooth decay worsens.

If your concerned you may have tooth decay then give us a call or email for advice…




Dr Niket Patel Celebrates Being 5 Years Dental Phobia Certified…

Dr Niket Patel and the Smile Essential Dental team are delighted to have been awarded Dental Phobia certification for another year. This year celebrates Dr Niket Patel having been Dental Phobia Certified for five years.

Why should you choose a dental phobia certified dentist? Because it means that they have dedicated treatments and services especially to help nervous patients who fear coming to the dental practice. It also means that we have had to put forward written testimonials from our patients that we have helped overcome their dental phobia.

At Smile Essential Dental Practice in Leicester, we have helped hundreds of patients with varying levels of dental phobia. Every person who comes through our door is unique and so is their fear of visiting a dentist. That’s why our first step is always a friendly open and honest chat. We listen to your fears and any specific reasons that make you feel nervous about your dental appointment. We have heard so many different fears including – the dental chair, a bad experience in the past, the school dentist, fear of injections, feelings of helplessness, the sound of metal, the feel of cotton wool and even the fish on the TV.

We have also invested in The Wand which is a digital method of delivering anaesthetic which prevents the pain associated with traditional injections. It ensures anaesthesia is delivered in a pain-free manner.

Find out more about visiting our dental practice as a nervous patient…

7 Surprisingly High Sugar Sources…


Often fruit smoothies are seen as a healthy drink or snack. But these innocent looking drinks are actually loaded with free sugars. Once the fruit is blended the natural sugars are released from within the cell walls of the fruit and become ‘free sugars’. Any added sugar is also counted as free sugars. 

Tomato ketchup

The tabletop condiment of choice for many us and sadly one of the kiddies favourites. Tomato ketchup has a surprisingly high concentration of sugar. But a tablespoon of tomato sauce equals one teaspoon of sugar! So take it easy with the sauce and limit children’s consumption.


The BBC reported on a Leeds University study of almost 900 yoghurts – with some containing more sugar per 100g than cola! Yoghurt desserts were top of containing the most sugar with an average of 16.4g per 100g. Surprisingly the second most sugary product was organic yoghurts with a typical 13.1g per 100g. Children’s yoghurts typically contained 10.8g per 100g, the equivalent of more than two sugar teaspoons of sugar, the study found.


Breakfast cereal has come a long way the past several years and actually doesn’t contain as much sugar as it used to. However, some processed cereals are still high in sugar so it’s always important to read the label. But what are other breakfast alternatives? Smoothies, pastries or maybe a cereal bar? All of these are high in sugar. better alternatives are oat-based breakfasts such as porridge or eggs on toast.

Takeaway food

Takeaway food can contain a high level of added sugar. Takeaway Chinese food can contain a shocking amount of sugar. With the popular sweet and sour chicken dish containing around 90 grams of sugar – that’s 10 teaspoons! Taking a closer look at takeaway Chinese food it’s clear to see that it’s the sauces that rack up the sugar content. So choose with caution! But it isn’t just Chinese takeaway that contains a lot of sugar. There are several Indian dishes that are high in sugar such as Chicken Korma and a McDonald’s classic beef burger and strawberry milkshake contains a whooping 67grams of sugars!

Energy bars 

Energy bars are often seen as a good grab and go snack when you need energy. However, the shop-bought version of energy bars often contains around 25 grams of sugar per 100 grams. Not so healthy. If you or you’re family can’t live without an energy bar then a healthier alternative is to make low sugar energy bars at home. 

Takeaway drinks

Do you know how much sugar your favourite takeaway drink contains? The regular Starbuck Cappucino contains 11.4 grams of sugar – nearly 3 teaspoons. This often surprises people as you might assume it contains 0 sugar and add a teaspoon or two, significantly increasing your consumption. If you were to treat yourself to a hot chocolate, then the Starbucks classic hot chocolate in regular size contains 22 grams of sugar – 5 and a half teaspoons. If you opt for something a bit more indulgent let’s say a large Signature caramel hot chocolate using semi-skimmed milk then you would be indulging in 89.1 grams of sugar! That’s 22 teaspoons of sugar! Keep your sugar low by choosing a drink in it’s simplest version e.g. americano, breakfast tea etc, never add syrup or sugar and if you do indulge then choose the smallest size possible.

Sugar guidelines

Adults should have no more than 30g of free sugars a day, (roughly equivalent to 7 sugar cubes). Children aged 7 to 10 should have no more than 24g of free sugars a day (6 sugar cubes). Children aged 4 to 6 should have no more than 19g of free sugars a day (5 sugar cubes).

Find out more about sugar…