How did it get so late so soon?

“In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer”

Albert Camus

This Christmas period we’re going to make a conscious effort to try and find our invincible
summer! With the government seemingly unravelling around us, COP 26 already out of the
headlines and Covid showing us again that we haven’t got the upper hand, it could feel like a rather bleak midwinter is on the cards. It does seem we’re having to draw upon our reserves of resilience yet again as we will try to find the gems in the mist, treasure our planet and our relationships and focus on the simple things!

To that end, to help us through the bumps and bruises coughs and colds, Nicola has been
working on putting together a package of ethical products she’s been using, championing and recommending for a while now to help support Natural Health and immunity with a focus onWinter Wellness. They’ll all be available from the practice through the winter. The Christmas opening hours are also available on the website now as well here:

And before it’s too late, as we speedily open the advent doors, we thought we’d also share
some links and ideas we love on how to help make our Christmas more nourishing and
sustainable affair! You can find out more here

Finally we would like to say a very big thankyou to our lovely Nurse and treatment coordinator Abbey, who will be leaving us this December. She joined us through the lockdown and has been a important part of the team since her arrival. Best of luck in your new chosen career Abbey from us all, we will miss you!

We really hope you find these a little treasure trove of usefulness and well-being and more
than anything hope you’re wintertime is merry and bright with the promise of a resilient newyear and an invincible 20-22!

“Autumn leaves don’t fall, they fly. They take their time and wander on this their only chance to soar.”

So the children are back in school, nights are pulling in and soon the swallows will have left us again – it’s Autumn in the United Kingdom. 

Autumn harvest

It’s been a challenging summer for us, the easing of restrictions and corresponding high numbers of covid have meant we have had to be especially rigorous with our infection control procedures.  We would like to thank everyone attending appointments for continuing to wear masks, it’s something that we still must do in a healthcare setting to protect the most vulnerable people we treat.  

As many of you will also know Nicola caught Covid in mid-July and her recovery has taken a long time. She is almost there now but it was a good 6-7 weeks. A big thank you to the team here who kept the place going whist we were both in isolation without missing a beat.  Also a heartfelt  thank you for the lovely messages and cards that we have received it was a real lift to to Nicola during her recovery.

 If you are interested there is some useful information that comes out of the ZOE study about Covid run by Professor Tim Spector .  Tim Spector also wrote the book Spoonfed which is a rather harrowing discussion on what the food industry, powerful lobbying and government inactivity amongst other things has done to the food that we eat. It’s also got lots of great advice on what to eat to feed the bacteria in your gut, something that we have been championing here for a while it’s well worth a read.

Some great news on our recent recruitment! We’re delighted to introduce our new trainee dental nurse Ellie; you may have already met her but if not you will see Ellie when you come in for a healthy mouth visit with Saranya, and for some treatments with Nicola and Mei-An.

We are always asking for feedback from our patients to try to improve the service we offer.  There are numerous ways in which you can do this, you can email us write to us, tell us, or you can fill in one of the comment cards on the front desk.  This is how we received some lovey feedback recently from patients about  Saranya our fabulous hygienist who has been with us since March.  The comments selected below sum up lot of the feedback and we thought we share them with you here.

Saranya was so reassuring, informative thorough and had a lovely manner, thank you team!”

“It felt like a very thorough session with the hygienist, very clear advice, friendly and helpful”

“Lovely visit, very thorough, and I felt very well taken care of”

We’re all delighted with the way she has settled in and in the coming months will be extending her hours with us.  Thank you for the feedback that you give us it really helps us improve!

As many of you will know, being a sustainable dental practice is not something that we do to tick a marketing box, it’s part of who we are.  We have started to feel that we need to have some form of independent recognition for the work that we do, and to this end we have been working through the Green Impact Programme that is run in conjunction with the Centre for Sustainable Health Care.  It’s been really interesting as expected we are already doing lots of the things that they suggest, and in some cases, we have some ideas for them to incorporate into their programme, but we have also learnt some things and different ideas as well.  We will update you on our progress!

That’s all for the moment the best of health to you all,

everyone at the Natural Smile.

“Desent is the most risky part”

I am not sure about you but for us it seems like the first half of this year has passed in a dream. So much has happened in the last year and as things start to ease from the restrictions that we have all faced, I’m reminded of the study of mountain climbing accidents in the Austrian Alps. The study showed that 75% of accidents had happened on the way down. We think we have conquered the mountain and we relax, and perhaps our mind starts to wonder. As humans we’re good at dealing with the challenge that it right in front of us, the mountain, the emergency. It’s only when things start to calm down that the reality of what we have been through catches up with us.

So remember to take the time to process what we have been through, it’s unprecedented and may take a while to understand. As we get a taste of what we used to call ‘normal life’ don’t be surprised to find that now is the time when the enormity of the pandemic catches up with us. As the climbers in the Austrian alps found, it’s normal to fall off after you have dealt with the worst the mountain has to offer. With this in mind we re-evaluate our priorities, reset our direction, and take cautious steps forward!


Dr Ben Atkins Filming with Nicola

We have been really busy filming recently. Nicola has been involved in an exciting project with the president of the Oral Health Society, talking positively about the benefits of dentistry. It’s part of a large industry wide initiative and we’re delighted to be one of the very few invited to participate and talk about our approach to dentistry, the materials we use, and the way in which we use them. You can see sneak peek here: The Natural Smile & Dr Ben Atkins

We’ve also started work on a series of video instructions and information so that you can have thepleasure of us telling you how to brush your teeth in the comfort of your own home! We’re only infirst stages but look out in future updates!

A note of caution on ‘direct to consumer’ teeth whitening and teeth straightening’ offers

It was only a matter of time before this type of treatment was offered, where you take your own impressions and then send them off to a remote dentist. We think it will also be just a matter oftime before we start to see serious problems that will arise directly from this treatment.

As you might have gathered, we’re not fans because we believe that these types of treatments should always be undertaken by skilled professionals, and most importantly as part of a treatment plan that has been specifically tailored to your own personal needs. If you arethinking of aligners to straighten your teeth, or whitening why don’t you have a chat with us and we can talk you though the pros and cons, for your own personal situation. Nicola is also undertaking a more advanced aligner course at the moment, and we will soon be adding this tothe range of treatments we have available to keep you healthy.

You can read what the dental regulator has to say about direct to consumer dentistry here:

That is it for this update and we hope that you enjoy coming safely down the mountain!
Everyone at the Natural Smile dental practice.

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!