We understand that having a perfect white smile is one of the top beauty ideals and we also understand how tempting it is for a lot of people to try and whiten their teeth with over the counter products, especially with many products claiming they can whiten teeth up to 5 shades whiter!

The truth is, that these products rarely work and they certainly don’t last, more worryingly is the danger of reacting to the chemicals in these products and the damage it could do to your teeth, mouth and gums!

We always recommend only having your teeth whitened by professional dentists who can make sure that your mouth is healthy and that there is no risk of damage being done to your teeth,mouth or gums.

Take a look at a recent article which shows an example of how these products have led to serious life threatening complications…BEWARE CONTAINS GRAPHIC IMAGE THEY MAY BE UPSETTING FOR SOME!

click here to read the full article!


At St Stephens Dental Surgery the team consists of 3 dentists,myself the owner Martin Southon and associates Karen Leadbetter and Tom Buckland, as well as 6 nurses and receptionists including Dawn and Nicola, the senior nurses. I have been working at St Stephens since I qualified in 1987 and Karen has been here a year longer. Tom and his family have been in Canterbury for 12 years and he is going to settle here now. Not to mention that Nicola has been working for me for 21 years and Dawn since 1997.

So what does this mean to you as patients?…Continuity of care!

Patients will see the same dentist and nurse for successive checkups and treatment. Karen and I have been seeing some patients for over 20 years, plus this usually means less treatment.
Generally if you see a new dentist they have to make a snap shot decision on what they see right then. Some dental conditions, especially beginning decay can be monitored as there is a good chance the condition is static. This is especially true if the same dentist is monitoring them year on year.If you see someone different each exam rather than monitoring there is a good chance these conditions will be treated, and maybe unnecessarily.
This lack of continuity of care is especially likely at corporate dental companies which are taking over many local dental surgeries. The companies owning these practices move the dentists around so you end up seeing someone different each visit.
So for continuity of care and less treatment come and see my team at Stephens Dental Practice where we will give you the confidence to smile.


I am Martin Southon, Dentist and owner of St Stephens Dental Practice.

My dental Surgery is bang up to date using the latest techniques and materials, with a few exceptions. One is glue, the dental adhesive I use. These adhesives are big business in dentistry with huge research into them and new ones seemingly coming out each week. I use the same one I have used since Dental school. 25 years or so.

Why?…Because it works! I know how it works and I can see it is working at each of its 3 stages. It is called Gluma from the 2 active ingredients, Glutaraldehyde and Methacrylate. New ones may be quicker but you cannot see they have worked and the reps cannot explain to me how they work. I like to know how things work.

dental glue

This week I have used this “glue” to repair the front teeth of two youngsters. One tried to eat a cricket bat, the other a badminton racquet! Quite common sports incidents at this time of year. In both cases their parents had the foresight to bring in the broken piece of tooth. These fragments can then be bonded back as good as new and nearly as strong as ever with the adhesive. My GP had 4 teeth repaired this way about 10 years ago following a close encounter playing squash.

So that’s the team at St Stephens Dental Practice performing minor mouth miracles and using common sense in choosing products to maintain your confidence to smile.


With today’s modern advancements in dental work improving your smile has never been so easy! Making these improvements can mean something as simple as swapping grey fillings for white ones. As you can see in the before and after pictures it really is an impressive transformation, as the white filling blends in with the natural tooth giving the illusion of no filling at all.

For more information on white fillings or to book an appointment call the practise on 01227 452668

St Stephens Dental Practice, giving you the confidence to smile!



Hello I am Martin Southon dentist and owner of an independent surgery, in St Stephens, Canterbury. We are long established with the practice being first set up in the 1970’s and I have worked here since I qualified at the end of 1987.

Specsavers with its strap line “Should have gone to Specsavers” is a very well known company buying up independent opticians to the point where there are very few independents left.In the dental world companies such as IDH, Oasis, Apex, Bupa, and JD Hull are doing the same and buying up independent dental surgeries.

These companies are businesses not run by dentists but by business men. Some of them set the dentists working for them daily work targets. This means that there is a fair chance that the dentist’s assessment of your oral health and your subsequent treatment may not be based on your actual needs but more on the bottom line of the company owning the surgery. This does not sound to me like an ethical and professional way of running any health care practice.

My practice is proud to be independent. A patient’s treatment is based on their actual needs and not on a target set by the business owners. So for all things Dental think of me and my team. We will ethically and professionally give you the confidence to smile.


Hi I am Martin Southon, Canterbury dentist here at St Stephens Dental Practice.

I recently looked at a survey by the British Dental Health Foundation about mouth aesthetics and there were some surprising results!

Apparently 40% of us are worried about the appearance of our mouth at least once a day and that rose to 50% in the 18-29 age bracket. The survey showed on average we spend at least 24 hours a year looking at our mouths as we clean our teeth and considerably more if time for applying lipstick or shaving is included.

Worries related to our mouths centred on our teeth much more than the peripheries of our mouth, and more than half of us worry about the colour of our teeth and one in four dislike their over crowded, gappy or goofy appearance.

A lot of these worries can be easily solved with bleaching, bonding and with the use of veneers. If you or someone you know are having these worries then please refer them to the team at St Stephens and we can help and advise the best course of action. Often the percieved problem is quite easy and affordable to solve.

Come and see us for a consultation and you will be surprised how easily we can give you the confidence to smile with less damage to your wallet than you’d expect.



You wouldn’t perform surgery on yourself at home, so why try and remove your teeth or apply fillings yourself?
You may have read in the news recently about the rise of ‘DIY dentistry’ – people taking it upon themselves to treat their own teeth. There was also a discussion about DIY dentistry on the Radio 2 Jeremy Vine show on Monday 20th April which you can go to at this LINK. Doing it yourself is often to do with saving the perceived monetary cost of treatment from a professional dentist, but this decision almost undoubtedly comes with a much greater potential cost to the individual’s health.

In a survey carried out by the British Dental Health Foundation, a worrying one in five Britons said they would remove a decaying or diseased tooth themselves rather than visit a dentist. The decision to self-treat has been made increasingly popular with the availability and convenience of various DIY kits, including those which allow individuals to apply temporary fillings themselves. Manufactured by Dentek, over 250,000 of these kits alone are sold in the UK every year, and are normally found in easily accessible High Street shops like Poundland. There are now even DIY extraction kits!! But no mention of anaesthesia!!!

However, there are several serious risks involved with trying to carry out your own treatment. Dentists have to go through years of rigorous training and studying in order to be able to carry out even the most basic of procedures safely. Attempting to carry out your own ‘quick fix’ has an understandably substantial risk of causing infection or creating further serious problems.

Without knowing exactly what you’re doing, it’s easy to miss vital stages in any procedure you might attempt. When you have a filling at the dentist, for example, the tooth and surrounding area will be properly cleaned and prepared, with any plaque or decay removed so that bacteria cannot cause problems underneath the filling. At home, you would not have the knowledge, let alone the correct equipment, to be able to do this properly. It’s all too easy to make the problem worse, which in turn will only lead to more urgent, expensive, and perhaps even more prolonged treatment to fix your own efforts.

The press has recently reported some horrific DIY dentistry stories, including a woman who used a fork to pop an abscess in her mouth, and a man who plugged a cavity in his mouth with QuikSteel – a potentially toxic steel-reinforced putty used to fix car engines. Other cases involve removing teeth with spanners and even a toffee hammer (whatever that is!).On Youtube there are unbelievable videos of teeth being removed by tying to a golf ball which is then hit. And several cases of tying teeth to fireworks! It is amazing the lengths some people will go to avoid dentists who are usually trying to help people in the most painless manner!

There have been cases of people extracting the wrong tooth, thinking it was a different one that was causing the problem, or developing nasty infections in the empty socket. The most bizarre was the case of a person trying to improve the fit of their denture by relining or “retreading” it. They melted down carriers bags, poured the molten plastic into their plate and then inserted it in their mouth!! It saved them some money.. Not! but the months of agony did not offset that!

Withexaminations available from St Stephens Dental Practice from just £25.00 or so, and emergency or urgent appointments available, professional treatment from the outset is often not only much cheaper overall, but also much safer than attempting to fix a problem yourself. You’ll also have the reassuring peace of mind that you won’t suffer any unnecessary pain or prolonged discomfort if your DIY approach was to go wrong!

For more information about treatment options available at St Stephens Dental Practice, or to book an appointment with us, please call a member of our team on 01227 452668 or Email at
Remember the team at St Stephens Dental Practice will give you the confidence to smile.


Part Two of our two part guide on how to prevent tooth decay and cavities, to keep your teeth looking healthy, is all about how what we eat and drink can effect what happens to our teeth. Now we all know that too many sugary foods and drinks aren’t good for our teeth, but do you know how to help prevent tooth decay without giving up all of your treats?

Keep reading to discover some handy tips on how to help keep your teeth healthy without saying goodbye to sugar!


tooth The maximum number of times you should eat/drink sugar in a day is 4. So enjoy all the lovely sugary                       foods and drinks with a meal.

In between mealtimes, only drink or snack on sugar free foods and drinks.

Having a healthy, balanced diet, with lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, will help to keep your immune                    system strong so you can fight diseases anywhere in your body, not just your mouth.

Some medicines contain sugar, so ask your doctor or pharmacist if there is a sugar-free version.




So what food and drink is good and bad for our teeth?

Bad for Teeth

  • Fizzy drinks and flavoured water
  • Chocolate, biscuits, sweets and crisps
  • Dried fruit and raisins
  • Fruit juice and flavoured
  • Hot chocolate, Tea/Coffee with sugar


Good for Teeth

  • Savoury sandwiches
  • Nuts
  • Plain water or milk
  • Cheese
  • Tea or coffee without sugar or with a sweetener


It is also important to look at the ingredients on the packaging of your food and drink so you know how much sugar is in each portion. Check the ingredients list for all the types of sugar:-

  • Glucose
  • Sucrose
  • Honey
  • Dextrose
  • Maltose
  • Fructose
  • Hydrolysed
  • Starch


If there is a traffic light system on the packaging, red or amber means it is bad for your teeth. In general, if there are more than 15g of sugar in 100g then it is high sugar and less then 5g in 100g is low.






The key to keeping your teeth and gums clean and healthy is to prevent plaque from building up so, if your toothbrush is past its best, or you’re thinking of switching from a regular toothbrush to an electric one, we can help you choose the best brush for keeping your teeth and gums clean and healthy. With so many shapes, sizes and styles available choosing the right toothbrush can seem confusing, do you go for electric or normal? Do you go for a soft, medium or hard bristle brush? So to help you out we have come up with some handy tips on what to look for when selecting the perfect brush for you.
1. Soft, Medium or Hard? Most dental professionals will agree that a soft-bristled brush is best for removing plaque and debris from your teeth, and a soft bristle brush will not cause irritation of your gums as a harder bristle brush could do. So we advise that you stick to a soft brush in less your dentist has advised you otherwise.
2. Small or Big? It’s also important to think about the size of the head of your brush. A big headed brush won’t allow you to get to those hard-to-reach places so we recommend that you use a small head which will allow you to get to give your whole mouth a better clean.
3. What type of handle? As for the type of handle, go for whatever suits you. Everyone holds objects differently and you need to be able to grip your brush comfortably. Most brushes whether manual or electric will have some form of non-slip grips on them to help with handling but remember that some electric toothbrushes can be rather large and heavy so before you buy just do a bit of research on-line where you can find out the specifications of all electric toothbrushes including their weight and size.
4. Manual or electric? This really is a personal choice although bear in mind that an electric toothbrush can do a better job of removing plaque and giving your teeth a better clean. An electric toothbrush is also a great idea for those who maybe find it difficult to brush their teeth through mobility issues and lack of dexterity.
5. How Often Should I Replace My Toothbrush? You should replace your toothbrush or head if you have an electric toothbrush, when it begins to show wear, or every three months, whichever comes first. It is also very important to change toothbrushes after you’ve had a cold, since the bristles can collect germs that can lead to re-infection.
If you have an questions or queries regarding your toothbrush or your dental routine then contact your dentist for more information.


Part one of our two part guide on how to prevent tooth decay and cavities to keep your teeth looking healthy, starts with a guide on how to keep your teeth clean. Now we know this may seem like an obvious and simple task but it’s one that is not always done correctly. The question is are you doing it right?…well keep on reading and find out!

The bacteria in your mouth (living in dental plaque) use the sugar in your food to rot your teeth. Children’s teeth are softer than Adult teeth which makes them more prone to tooth decay. Holes in anyone’s teeth are not a good thing and these will often lead to pain and abscesses. If you brush your teeth correctly and regularly you can destroy the bacteria and prevent any problems.

Your aim: Brush all teeth for 2 x Minutes, twice a day with the correct toothpaste.


Brush the inside, outside and tops of all teeth on the top and bottom.

Proper Brushing takes 2 minutes! Think you already do it for 2 minutes? Time   yourself it’s  longer than you think. 

Brush your teeth twice a day, once before you go to bed and again when you      wake up or at some point during the day.

After brushing spit our the excess toothpaste but DO NOT Rinse! This is a common mistake, but when you rinse you are removing all the goodness from the toothpaste.  



Toothpaste contains fluoride, which strengthens teeth and can even repair  early  tooth decay. Everyone in the family should be using an adult strength toothpaste.Your toothpaste should contain at least 0.27%  or 1,350 ppm fluoride. If you are unsure check the packaging of your toothpaste or consult your dentist.

Although Children should use an adult strength toothpaste they should not use as much as adults.

0-3 years old= a smear of toothpaste is advised.

3-6 years old= a pea sized amount of toothpaste (as seen in the picture ).

7+ years old= a full size adult amount of toothpaste.