If you come to St Stephens Dental Practice you will find it is very personal to the owner, Martin Southon.

He has quite eclectic interests including sculpture and paintings, cars and car models and most eclectic, frogs.

In the practice you will find several brass frog sculptures hanging off the walls and in Martins surgery a frog themed calendar.

Martin says…

“I don’t why I am fascinated by frogs, but I always have been. Maybe it is their interesting life cycle or the beautiful colours that especially tree frogs feature.

They look friendly although I know many are exactly not being highly poisonous.

Yesterday whilst working I glanced at my calendar and a thought struck me!

So, do frogs have teeth?

Well after the patient had left a quick Google search showed that indeed they do but only in the upper jaw with only hardened gums in the lower jaw. This means that they cannot really bite into their food to dice it up so have to swallow it whole, not really a good look and quite uncomfortable I would have thought!”

At St Stephens dental Practice we care for and treat the whole mouth including teeth, and support tissues including jaw bone and gums.

So if you want a Dental Practice, perhaps with strange fascinations, but who will really care for your whole mouth and for you then you need look no further than St Stephens Dental Practice.

We will give you a happy confidence to smile!


Another scary dental related picture from the cover of the British Dental Journal. This picture by Matthew Laznicka illustrates another dental related story in literature.

It shows the visit of Auntie Toothache! This was the last story by Hans Christian Anderson written in 1872.  Anderson himself apparently suffered greatly with toothache and became obsessed with the agony of it.


The story concerns a shadowy night time visitor, Old Mother Toothache, who threatens the story’s narrator when asleep, telling him that his mouth is “a splendid organ on which she intends to play”!

Another good reason to look after your teeth!


Regular visits to St Stephens Dental Practice should keep this nocturnal visitor at bay and keep you with the confidence to smile.


This rather scary picture by artist Matthew Laznicka is taken from the cover of the most recent British Dental Journal. This dental magazine is running a series of covers depicting various instances where dentistry or teeth feature in literature.

This picture depicts Shakespeares historical play Richard the Third.

This play refers to the appearance of Richards teeth as a newborn as a portent for his future villainy.In the play, before he is killed by Richard, the saintly King Henry VI declares:

“Teeth hadst thou in thy head when thou wast born,to signify thou earnest to bite the world!”


Martin at St Stephens Dental Practice has some very sad news:

“On Sunday afternoon the 2nd April my Dad, Brian passed away after being ill on and off for the last couple of years. My Dad had lived in Canterbury all his life. He left school to take up an apprentice placement as a Dental Technician learning to construct dentures and crowns.

After National service he worked for a variety of dentists including Mr Matthews and Mr Gardener before becoming self employed in 1972. He built an extension on the back of my parents  house in Stodmarsh Road and worked from there until retirement. He worked for quite a number of Canterbury dentists but in 1978 he was approached by George Hamill to do the work at St Stephens Dental Practice. As Mr Hamill opened more practices in Bridge then Wingham and Chestfield Dad worked almost exclusively for these.

When I qualified as a Dentist at the beginning of 1988 I started to work at St Stephens with Dad doing my work and I thought we were a good team. Because I saw him every day it was easy to communicate what details either of us needed. It is very rare to find a dentist son and dental technician father working together at all and I think we provided a very good personal service. We almost had a telepathy between us. Dad continued to work for me and the other dentists until 2010 when he retired.

The life of a Dental technician is quite a lonely one. You spend your life making very precise prostheses under the instruction of the Dentist. It is very time consuming and requires great concentration. Then you supply the item back to the Dentist who then gets all the praise and feedback from the patient. Positive feedback then rarely reaches the technician but negative feedback although rare always gets back to the poor Technician. So in spite of doing some brilliant work my Dad never really felt appreciated for what he did.

But what he did was truly great. Improving the smile of many Canterbury patients, providing a truly brisk turn around service and working well into the night if required as it was always impossible to gauge the level of work that would arrive. He was always available to help patients and dentists alike. And he was totally reliable and punctual.

I could go on but one of my patients summed it up quite nicely. I had been seeing this chap for a long time and Dad and I had made him some dentures a long while back. He came in again for a new set after Dad had retired. These were made and fitted and the chap seemed quite pleased. But a few years later in conversation he commented on the new teeth. He said “It is a shame your dad had to retire as his work was really very good. If I could liken my dentures to a car, I would say my new teeth are a Ford. The ones your Dad made were a Ferrari.” Praise indeed. And I did tell Dad.

So that was my father. Brian Southon.  Unfortunately never realising how much he was appreciated by the dentists he worked for and the patients he helped. My mother, sister brother and I knew. And we knew what a great person he was away from work too.

And now we are being overwhelmed by the amount of lovely things people are saying about Dad. Loads of cards and messages saying how well liked he was.

He was a great Dad, a lovely man and a brilliant dental technician. And he will be greatly missed.”




What is your definition of an emergency appointment?

Being offered an appointment on the day, within a week, or within a month?

What if you were in sufficient pain that you could not sleep?

Would you be happy with being offered an “emergency appointment” 10 days away?

I thought not.

I was contacted late last Sunday by the partner of a colleague of mine. He regularly attended one of the corporate dentists that are taking over many independent dentists.

The receptionist there was dismissive of his problem and unhelpful saying no one could see him, let alone help him for 10 days. Obviously he was not very pleased with this and his partner contacted me. I responded within an hour, had seen the patient within another hour and the whole situation was resolved the following Monday morning.

This is what proper emergency treatment is about. A personal service because we care.  At my practice we aim to see our registered patients on the day if they are in trouble and, as much as possible will extend the same service to new patients as well.

There will certainly be none of this waiting for days on end, especially if the patient is in pain.

So for a proper emergency dental service and for routine treatment as well,  please think of St Stephens Dental Practice where we will give you the confidence to smile.

Martin Southon.

Practice Principal


At St Stephens Dental Practice we want to provide the best experience possible at a dental practice. To help us to provide a good service we collect feedback from our patients after they have finished a course of treatment. This can be anonymous or not, the patient can decide. On the summary of the feedback that we see there are initially 4 categories;


Clean/ comfortable

Entertainment/ literature

Friendly/ approachable

Level of trust

We routinely score 97-100% in 3 of these but seem to fall down a bit on the Entertainment/ literature category scoring 85-90%. This is quite disappointing for us as we think we have a great selection of magazines, lovely original paintings and sculptures and the televisions in the waiting room and ceilings of the surgeries. What else can we do??


We thought it would be amusing to do a montage of the magazines in the waiting room to check if you think we have covered all the bases.

There are about 60 different titles! And soon we will also have a magazine for you folk who microlite!

What do you think?

Any ideas or suggestions can be sent through by Email to


Recently the press have seized upon a report that there has never been a study that proves flossing your teeth reduces gum disease.This is quite unbelievable, irresponsible and frankly rubbish.
It is a bit like saying that there has never been a study that shows that washing your car windscreen makes it easier to see through!
Brushing your teeth only, whatever brush you use will not clean between your teeth where gum disease and tooth decay often start. Only flossing or interdental brushes will clean there. If these areas are not cleaned plaque and then calculus (hardened plaque) will build up causing gum inflammation and possibly initiating decay.
If you do not floss you run the risk of bad breath, bleeding gums and tooth loss through gum disease causing looseness. Tooth decay will also be thrown into the mix.
Gum disease is also linked to other conditions as wide as heart problems, Altzheimers and some cancers.
So proper study or not I can report that in my over 25 years of providing dental care I have found that flossing does work. People who floss have less decay and healthier gums than those who do not.
So keep flossing, it does work and will enable you to keep the confidence to smile.


When you go to the dentists, you expect a hygienic environment don’t you? Of course!

Most dentists work hard to be as hygienic as possible but do they go the extra mile?

All dentists use gloves, masks and sterile equipment whilst treating you, but then what do they do? They type up your notes! Typing up using a keyboard and mouse. Studies have shown that a keyboard and mouse are amongst the least hygienic items in a person’s home, contaminated with a very high level of bacteria, especially between the keys.

So how clean are your dentist’s mouse and keyboard?

Well at St.Stephens Dental Practice in Canterbury we have special hygienic safe and easy clean keyboards and mouse, ensuring they are as clean as possible! So next time you go to your dentists, take a quick look at the keyboard and mouse they use. If they don’t use such cool clean technology, ask yourself, is this really the dental practice for you?


If you touched or rubbed your face near your eye and your eye bled or even if your eye bled spontaneously you would be quite worried, wouldn’t you? You would rush to an see optician, such as Jon Brothwell at Pybus Opticians in Canterbury.

And yet, many people accept bleeding gums as being normal.

They see the current TV advert for Corsodyl mouthwash marketed as a cure for this.

A mouthwash alone is not and can never be a “cure”.

The mouthwash just reduces the symptoms.

One thing that is correct in that advert is that bleeding gums are a sign of a condition that ultimately will lead to tooth loss.

Bleeding gums are the first sign of gingivitis, inflamed gums. This, neglected and  untreated can lead to periodontitis, which can be summarised as inflammation of the tooth supporting tissues comprising gum, periodontal ligament (which holds the tooth in) and bone.

The symptoms are better recognised as loose teeth, infection and tooth loss.

If you or any of your family or friends have bleeding gums then a visit to the dentist is essential.

In most cases some simple advice and treatment is all that is necessary to get you back on the straight and narrow track to keeping your teeth life long.

So for advice and treatment to maintain your smile regardless of your age please come and see us at St Stephens Dental Practice.

We are on a mission to keep Canterburys teeth where they belong giving people the confidence to smile.

To book an appointment please call on 01227 452668 or go online at


It turns out that keeping your breath fresh every day could be even easier than you thought if you do this one simple thing every morning… but can you guess what?
New research has suggested drinking a glass of water first thing in the morning is an effective way of reducing morning breath!

At St.Stephens Dental Practice, we followed the research published in the ‘International Journal of Dental Hygiene’ which showed drinking or rinsing the mouth with a glass of water helped remove up to 60 per cent of the substances which contribute to bad breath!

As Martin Southon, dentist at St.Stephens Dental Practice explained “A glass of water in the morning can aid in washing away bacteria. This bacteria can be the cause of bad breath. However, please bear in mind this is NOT a solution, only an aid”

“The best way to beat bad breath effectively is to ensure that you have an good oral health routine. This should involve brushing your teeth last thing at night and at least one other time during the day with a fluoride toothpaste. You should also floss or use small brushes to clean between your teeth at least once a day”

If you want to be sure you have a good oral hygiene routine, give us a call on 01227 452668. Make an appointment to see to see one of our friendly dentists who can help give advice and tips on how to keep your mouth healthy!

Not sure if your breath smells bad?

Try this simple tip – Just lick the inside of your wrist, wait for it to dry and then sniff the area. If the smell is bad, you can be fairly sure that your breath is too!

Other medical conditions that cause bad breath include infections in the throat, nose or lungs, sinusitis, and bronchitis. Diabetes and liver and kidney problems can also contribute . If you want to get to the route of your bad breath, make sure you visit us at , as we can help you uncover these problems. The earlier the causes are found, the more effective the treatment will be.

So remember, water is an essential part of the diet and has many benefits for oral health so having a glass of water in the morning is a good idea for more reasons than just quenching your thirst.

I hope this helped and remember to like our Facebook page for more amazing tips! 🙂