Practice News

Tooth Talk with Richard Leworthy ~ July 2015

DURING the Summer holidays we prepare for the new school year and one essential piece of kit is the sports mouthguard. This protective device for the mouth covers the teeth and gums to prevent and reduce injury to the teeth, lips and gums. It is mandatory for all contact sports and not just the matches, but warm-ups as well. At Rock House we have treated several patients who did not wear a mouthguard and arrived with their teeth in their hands.

Last month we covered what to do in the event of an accident but let me recap: Pick tooth up by the crown, lick it clean and stick it back. Most importantly; get to a dentist quickly. We have saved the teeth for several patients because we saw them within the first hour.

The cheapest mouthguard is the 'boil in the bag' which is often sold in sports shops.There are various sizes and they need to be put in boiling water then moulded in the mouth. These provide the most basic protection as they are often not well fitting and can be uncomfortable to wear.

We recommend custom-made mouthguards manufactured in the dental laboratory that have a CE marking. A couple of simple impressions are taken, one of the upper jaw and one of the lower. The mouthguard is constructed on the upper model using a vacuum machine. This allows the mouthguard to fit accurately giving a superior fit and greater protection. Also talking, drinking and breathing is possible without problems while wearing it.

They come in a large range of colours and you can even have them in your own team colours.

Junior:  For children and teenagers up to the age of 14.

Senior: For over-14s including adults, for all kind of amateur sports, eg football, mountain biking, in-line skating.

Elite: For contact sports such as rugby, boxing and other kind of martial arts like karate and judo. Has a soft inlay for superior shock absorption.


Professional: For all stick sports and professional use, eg hockey, ice hockey, rugby, polo. Has a hard inlay for front tooth protection.


Pop into Rock House or ring for an appointment. All mouthguards made before mid-September will be entered into a prize draw for a signed New Zealand cricket shirt.


Spring / Summer 2015 ................

Looking back 30 years!


We are delighted to have been awarded the

Wells Ciivic Society Plaque by Chris Winter:


We don’t often look back in dentistry because there are so many new innovative materials and treatments available, however, the team at Rock House will be celebrating the success of the practice for 30 years during May!
May 1995 saw Richard Leworthy and his wife Sue take over the ownership of Rock House Dental Practice.

From humble beginnings with only the one dentist and nurse/receptionist (pictured above) our team now comprises dentists, clinical dental technician, hygienists, practice manager, qualified nurses, receptionists and cleaner.

30 years ago there was just one surgery downstairs and Richard’s family lived on the middle and top floor as a separate apartment.
Now, every room in the building is utilised, and garden room for our staff was built a few years ago.

We would also like to congratulate two of our members of staff who have been with us, nearly from the beginning:-
Firstly, Teresa Davis who joined our small team in 1987. Teresa left Strode College having studied Health and Social Care. Teresa soon qualified as a dental nurse and worked full time, passing further examinations in Oral Health Education and Dental Radiography. Teresa currently works part time after returning from maternity leave in 2006. That’s a long time of service!

Secondly Carol Govier who first joined us in 1988. Carol worked as a dental nurse for 2 years, then left us to work in another part of the country in 1990. She rejoined our team in March 1994 and since then has worked as dental nurse, receptionist, Office Manager then in  August 2013 she was promoted to be our the Practice Manager

Above; Photo of the only Surgery in 1985








And below is a recent photo taken during 2105:-










From our Winter 2014 Newsletter:

Data from the Health & Social Care Information Centre show the number of admissions for dental problems among 5 to 9 year olds nationwide rose from 22,574 (2010-2011)
to 25,812 (2013-2014).
Kathryn Harley (Consultant) says “We have children who require all 20 baby teeth removed; it beggars belief that their diets could produce such a drastic affect!”

With those sorts of statistics, we decided to continue with last month’s theme of diet and sugar intake. We would like you to try to read the information overleaf as it is not only the amount of sugar eaten but the frequency of eating sugary foods throughout the day that causes tooth decay.

The WHO recommends that we halve our daily sugar intake to 5 teaspoons (20g) – that’s just one yoghurt or a tin of tomato soup. A small snack pack of raisins or a bowl of Cheerios would push your child over the limit. Use the following guide to find out what’s in some of your food.

Yeo Valley 0% fat Vanilla yoghurt  (150g pot)

5 tsp

Cheerios 1Bowl (100g)

5 tsp

Petits Filous Strawberry & Raspberry (small pot)

3 tsp

Honey (1tbsp)

3 tsp

Yoomoo Frozen Strawbmoo (1 bowl) (100g)

4 tsp

Hot cross bun

4 tsp

Kettle Vegetable chips (100g bag)

5 tsp

White bread roll

3/4 tsp

Haribo Tanfastics (215g bag)

29 tsp

Blueberries (handful)

1/2 tsp

Pick’n’mix jelly snake

2 tsp

Dried apricots (handful)

3 tsp

Ribena (200ml carton)

5 tsp

Sun-Maid Raisins (snack pack)

7 tsp

Tropicana smooth Orange Juice (200ml)

5 tsp

Heinz Tomato Ketchup (1tbsp)

1 tsp

Coca-Cola (1 can)

7 tsp

Heinz Baked beans (1 tin)

5 tsp


Starbucks Caramel Frappuccino with cream ~grande

12 tsp

Pret a Manger Green Goodness Juice ~400ml

10 tsp

Lipton Lemon Iced Tea ~ 500 ml bottle

8 tsp

Innocent Smoothie Strawberries & Bananas ~250ml

6.5 tsp

  Caramel Frappuccino with cream

 Smoothie Strawberries & Bananas



At night, make sure you brush your teeth before you sleep, don’t swill your mouth with waterand don’t eat anything after that, because saliva flow is lowest at night.




From our Winter 2013 / 14 Newsletter ~ Number 33

sue taking part in the preventative flouride programme in Peru


September 2013 saw Richard and his wife Sue travel to the Peruvian Amazon and work aboard the ‘Amazon Hope’ Medical boat. This was Richards’ 3rd trip and Sues’ 2nd as the last time they went was 5 years ago. This time they took newly qualified dentist; Chloe Harrington. (Many of you may remember Chloe who came to the practice when she was 15yrs old for her school works experience, then worked some Saturdays and trained as a dental nurse during her ‘gap year’ covering dental nurse Teresa’s maternity leave. She went on to study dentistry at Bristol; qualifying this July.)




Chloe, Richard and Sue beside the Amazon Hope



Chloe says it was a very rewarding experience and enabled her to do over 200 extractions & some fillings on the patients over the 2 week voyage. Chloe says this whole trip was a life changing experience for her!





Richard having a retirement drink with all his staff during August 2013:

Richard having a retirement drink withhis staff


Richard would like to thank everyone who sent cards and gifts to wish him well on his retirement. As many of you know, Richard’s plan is to have more time to carry out charity work abroad.

Richard has taken a back seat now and handed the care of his patients to his colleagues, the majority going to Dr Helena Morrell. (If have not yet met Helena and would like to know more about her; please go to our website or ask reception for her flyer)


Richard during his skydive jump



Richard Leworthy and Louise Kissane raised a total of over £2,500.00 for
Somerset & Dorset Air Ambulance and supporting midwives in Africa when they went to Taunton during July to take part in a sponsored Sky Dive. 



Here is a photo of Richard with his instructor!


Rock House was delighted to sponsor the milk tasting at the First Wells Food Festival on Sunday 20th October 2013. The milk tasting was held in the Bishop’s Barn and preceded a debate on milk. This was well attended by over 100 people with an interest in milk and its production. We contributed to the event by distributing dental samples and giving information as to how milk can help with good oral health. Here are some of the points we highlighted from a paper entitled ‘Milk and oral health’ written by Andrew Rugg-Gunn and Margaret Woodward.


* Milk should be considered more as a drink not just to add to tea, coffee and cereals.
*As consumption of carbonated drinks increases at an astounding rate; the damage to teeth is very worrying.
* Milk has sugar for energy in the form of lactose (80% of the carbohydrate in milk) which, studies has found, does much less damage to the teeth than, for example glucose.
*Milk also contains Casein. Casein is a phosphoprotein and is considered to be the main ingredient responsible for the caries–protective action of milk. It does this by its ability to concentrate calcium and phosphorus in the plaque with the effect of reducing some of the plaque bacteria.

*The minerals calcium and phosphorus together with other powerful protective factors have an



From our Spring / Summer 2013 Newsletter ~ Number 32



Everyone at Rock House would like to thank all those patients who kindly sent us cards, flowers and their thoughts & memories in our condolence book following the sad and tragic death of Jane Ellis our hygienist for over 25 years. Replacing Jane is of course almost impossible. We will miss her laughter and vibrant personality and this was reflected by the great number of friends, colleagues and patients who attended her memorial service. We have bought a water feature in her memory situated in the back courtyard garden, she often said it would be attractive to have one for all to enjoy!




From our Spring / Summer 2012 Newsletter ~ Number 31


Richard and Matt raising further funds for Nepal:


Richard, together with Wells Rotary colleagues, is raising money for the Nepal Trust with the specific aim of supplying solar panels to the school in the village where they have built a health post. The school has computers but the electricity is only available in the evening. By installing solar panels the children can use the computers all day.


A group of local people including dentists Richard & Matthew and their partners climbed the ‘Three Peaks’ (Ben Nevis, Scarfel Pike and Mt Snowdon) at the beginning of May in aid of the Nepal Trust. If you would like to help with our fundraising we have a collection tin on the reception desk




We have sponsored one of the Sculptured Swans;

They will be a major attraction for Wells & the surrounding area. You will see these swans in and around Wells that have been sponsored by local businesses and organisations. These swans have been decorated by local artists and are a fantastic display. Later in the year they will be sold at auction with the profits going to local charities. Our swan is in the front garden and is painted in reflective paint so that artist Paul Golding can project images onto it from within the garden. They look best in the evening if you take a walk around Wells in the dark.


Our major building work has now been completed
Those of you who visit their dentist on the ground floor will see the extended and refurbished surgery. Also, in the back courtyard are our new staff changing and rest room; this has been nicknamed ‘The Lodge’! We are all excited to have our own area as have been sharing the waiting room at lunchtimes with those of you who come in for lunchtime appointments. The courtyard is now bursting with colourful plants and flowers and the project is completed.


Children Dental Health Promotion
We are delighted that one of our Dental Nurses Tina now goes to visit Primary Schools to help the teaching staff with demonstrating to children the importance of a healthy mouth; she talks to the children about cleaning their teeth well, diet and generally discussing visits to their dentist. If your children’s school would like her to visit please call the practice or email and we can arrange to contact the school.


Continuing our Fluoride Varnish Prevention
We are continuing to apply fluoride varnish to children’s teeth as advised by the governments’ Oral Health toolkit. We have been told by some parents that this has been offered to children in playgroups if they visit a centre in Bridgwater as part of Somerset PCT’s dental health project. We apply fluoride to children’s teeth at every check up and also at an interim visit (with one of our trained dental nurses) if considered advantageous. So certainly, there is no need to go to Bridgwater! If they are given a ‘Health Teeth Passport’ we will be delighted to stamp it.



From our Autumn 2011 Newsletter ~ Number 30

Richard working in St Helena:


As many of Richards patients know he was asked to go to work as a locum dentist for the government of the remote island of St Helena, in the South Atlantic earlier this year. This was an amazing opportunity to travel and experience another part of the world. St Helena is a British dependency situated 1500 miles NW of Cape Town. Going back in time it was formed by violent volcanic upheaval 14million years ago. St Helena was discovered by the Portuguese Admiral navigator Joao Noav Castella, on 21st May1502; St Helena Day.map2.JPG 



It’s approx size is 17km x 10km and has many different landscapes: the entire coastal strip including the main town is semi-desert, but from Jamestown up there is a series of lush, sub tropical  ridges and valleys, turn a corner and you’re in a tropical forest with giant tree ferns, another and you could be in a meadow with cows. It could be described as a place of enchanted landscapes, and with place names such as Fairyland, Half Tree Hollow, Longwood, Deadwood, Hold Fast Tom, Sandy Bay, Green Hill, Blue Hill, Cuckold’s Point it could come straight out of an old fairy tale!

There is no airport so the only way of getting there is by sea either on your own if you sail there or by the Royal Mail ship (RMS) St Helena.


The history is interesting, with Napoleon being it’s most famous inhabitant arriving there on 15th October 1815 after being defeated at the Battle of Waterloo.


The people of St Helena; called ‘Saints’ and are very friendly, and their accent could be described as a lilting cross between Jamaican, Dickensian English and a smattering of Deep South American. Whilst driving we nearly suffered an episode of repetitive strain injury because wherever you drive, every other driver raises their hand in greeting as you approach, and you return the gesture! 


The island currently has approx 4000 people living there and so the job of the only dentist was to try to see and care for them all. Richard had two local girls that worked for him, they were experienced nurses, but unfortunately the only qualified nurse was on maternity leave. There was a dental lab, but again unfortunately the lass who worked there trying to make dentures and crowns was unqualified. (We are still in contact with her and may be able to help her come to the UK to work at the Lab in Langport and owner; Les Wheatly can act as her mentor whilst attending Cardiff University to study). Work consisted of emergency treatments for pain relief, general checkups and also scale & polishes as there was no hygienist or therapist there. Also he went into the hospital theatre to carry out extractions under general anaesthetic. Towards the end of our time there we met the qualified dental nurse and taught her to apply fluoride varnish as a preventative treatment for the children’s teeth.



Other activities we did include scuba diving, lots of hill walking, deep sea fishing, and socializing; mainly with other UK personal working there at the only hotel in Jamestown. Some interesting places we visited were a coffee plantation, the fisheries plant, Napoleon’s home in Longwood, the old fort. Sue engulfed herself in the nature & agriculture of the island and went seed collecting for rare endemic tree seeds, (to be planted in the nurseries to produce saplings to reintroduce native, endemic plants to the country side) spent time watching and helping record the nests of the rare endemic Wire Bird in the grassland areas of the island and one day went to a remote bay with the staff from the Natural Trust to see if a turtle that had been spotted was stranded; fortunately it had gone back to the sea by the time she had arrived! Overall, we had an amazing and special time in this small, remote & beautiful island.



























From our Spring / Summer 2011 Newsletter:


Like a drink? Need a drink?
Richard and Matt have completed the 2 day course ‘Alcohol Awareness’ kindly run by Somerset PCT. This completes the ongoing training required to maintain Gold Standard as established by Primary Health Trusts. It has been proved that health education messages are better delivered in a health environment. In each waiting room there will be ‘Wheels’ showing just how much alcohol is in each different type of drink. Both Richard & Matt found the course enlightening!                                                                                                                                  
When you are next asked to fill in one of our medical questionnaires there will be a question asking how many units of alcohol you drink each week. Our aim is to help and advise, so if you need advice; just ask. So when we ask ‘how much do you drink?’ don’t answer ‘not enough’!


Team Member Profile


Mrs.  Christine Prince.
Christine worked in a general dental practice in the Bristol area for 20 years before joining Rock House in 2005. She is married with a young son.
Her post graduate studies include the Diploma in Post-graduate Dental Studies(1998). Subjects studied: Periodontology (gum health) Orthodontics (braces) & Children's Dentistry. In the early 90's she had a 3 years placement at the Orthodontic Department of Bristol Dental Hospital learning how to treat patients with fixed braces.
Christine is interested in caring for whole families and nervous patients with a preventative approach to dentistry. She enjoys helping her patients achieve healthy mouths and gain confidence in undergoing dental treatment. She appreciates the team approach at Rock House, sharing the patient care with her colleagues who all have different skills and interests. Christine works 3 days a week at Rock House as well as 2 days at Wells Orthodontics where she continues her interest in Orthodontics.




From our Spring 2010 Newsletter:


The fluoride varnish programme.

Somerset PCT have begun this on-going health promotion project which seeks to raise the oral health aspirations of local children by identifying the best ways of looking after their teeth. The opportunity to have fluoride varnish painted onto their teeth is one of the preventative measures against decay.
Fluoride varnish alongside tooth brushing and diet helps protect teeth from decay and the need for fillings.  Research shows that fluoride varnish when applied at regular intervals helps to strengthen teeth, and therefore protect against decay.

How is the varnish applied?
The varnish is applied to clean teeth and it is painted on with a very small brush.  The nurse will keep the area dry with a blow of air and a small cotton wool roll. Other than the paint brush, mirror and varnish no other equipment is needed.

Does the varnish have a taste or smell?
The varnish has a pleasant taste and smell.

Can I have too much fluoride?
Children who consume too much fluoride can develop white spots on their teeth. The majority of toothpastes contain fluoride and whilst you or your child should continue to use (a pea sized amount of) toothpaste after having the varnish applied, children should be discouraged from eating it. Your child should not take fluoride drops, tablets or mouthwash on the day of having the varnish applied.

How does fluoride work on the tooth?
The anticaries action of fluoride results from two different mechanisms.
First, the fluoride ion is incorporated into the hard tissues of the tooth, strengthening its crystalline structure.
Second, the fluoride ion is able to interfere with metabolism of cariogenic microorganisms, reducing both their number and pathogenicity. Fluoride inhibits enolase, an enzyme which bacteria need to metabolise carbohydrates.



Richard’s advice on implants

What may come as a surprise is that the loss of even one tooth can have far reaching effects. It can compromise eating habits and speech, and can even change the appearance and shape of one’s mouth.
Dental implants provide the ideal solution to dental ’gaps’ and an alternative to dentures.

What are implants?
Dental implants are usually small titanium screws fixed into the jaw bone to act like the root of a natural tooth with a special crown is fitted onto it. Implants allow the tooth to function completely independently of the adjacent teeth, providing a permanent, healthy and attractive solution.

What are the benefits of implants?
Implants preserve the integrity of your facial structure and replicate your natural teeth as closely as possible, both in function and appearance. They also overcome the disadvantages of bridges and dentures that do not preserve bone and can necessitate the grinding down of adjacent teeth to fit.



Team Member Profile

In this newsletter we are going to look at the work of Dr.John Lover; our specialist endodontist.  
John is married to Rachel a local physiotherapist and has a grown up family.
He is with us on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays by arrangement.

On Thursdays John travels to Bristol Dental Hospital to be a mentor for the dental students. During this time he helps the young people attain his high level of clinical excellence.

John not only has patients referred to him from the other dentists at Rock House but also from a large number of practices from as far away as Sherborne and South Devon.
His appointments are often for an hour when he settles down to do the precision work assisted by one of our nurses.



Notice about extracted teeth


Teeth which are extracted in this practice are sent to King’s college London Dental Institute at Guy’s Hospital to help train dental students before they start to treat patients.

The Dental Institute makes a contribution to the Evelina Childrens’s Hospital Appeal for each tooth we send.

Please let us know if you have any objections to your (or your children’s) extracted teeth bring used in this way.



Articles from older newsletters:


We are going Digital!

Digital X-ray software for our computers is on its way and by the New Year 2007 all new X-rays will be stored digitally. Previous X-rays will be scanned in to each patient’s records so we will have a continuous record.

What will this mean for our patients?

Digital x-rays use far less radiation and so are safer, not only for the patient but for the dentist and nurses as well. The images will be digitally scanned and can then be magnified larger on the computer screen. This will help the dentist to diagnose problems with greater accuracy.

Also, the small plastic disc that now is positioned in your mouth is much softer than the old style cardboard film that used to feel hard against you gums or roof of your mouth.

At your next visit please bring with you any new mobile telephone numbers or e-mail addresses so we can continue to send computer generated appointment reminders.

Our reception staff may also ask you to update your medical history at your next visit so we can scan a new A4 form into your records.

New Year’s Resolution? What is yours?

Many people decide to give up smoking. If this is your resolution, not only will it help your overall health and wellbeing but also your dental health.

How to stop smoking:

  • Set a realistic quit date and stick to it.
  • Don’t have ‘just one cigarette’ because it usually leads back to regular smoking
  • Get rid of unused cigarettes and throw away your ashtrays.
  • Ask people not to smoke around you and never buy, hold or light cigarettes for others.
  • Tell everyone you are stopping – you are going to need their support.
  • Do something active when the urge hits you.
  • Change your routine so you have got something else to do at the time and places you used to smoke.
  • Remember that it will probably take you a while to get used to being without cigarettes. It gets easier as time goes on.
  • Use Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) Your pharmacist can help you decide which product to use, or take Zyban if your doctor has prescribed it.

Reward Yourself!
One of our patients put all the money aside she had saved from not smoking and has decided to have her teeth whitened. For more information see over and pick up an Illumine leaflet.

Thought of having your teeth whitened?

Why are my teeth becoming darker?

Dental discolorations are mainly caused by products such as nicotine, tea, coffee and red wine. Tooth discolorations are also age related. With time not only the outer enamel but also the dentine in the inner tooth is affected. Damage to the dental nerve, or certain medications can also lead to tooth discolorations.

Can my teeth be whitened without harming them?

The modern bleaching technology is based on a natural mode of action. Coloured pigments in your teeth are neutralised, only water and oxygen are the by-products. What is the effect? The whiteness of your teeth is restored.

You will see a change within a few days. In most cases the desired result is obtained after two weeks.

The change is obvious:

If you thought bleaching was only for models or film stars think again, it is quite simple and normal. You can even do it in the comfort of your home. We will show you how to apply it and regularly check the enduring effect.

“Aesthetic white teeth may change your smile, your aura, and the reaction of people around you. This will make you feel self-assured.”


Following his trip to Peru last July, Richard intends to continue to help raise more funds for this worthwhile charity and hopes to return to the Amazon sometime with his wife Sue.

There continues to be a display of framed photographs of his trip in the waiting room available to purchase.

Problems with poor fitting dentures?

We are pleased to welcome Mr. Les Wheatley, a Clinical Dental Technician trained in Canada, to our practice. If you would like an appointment with Les, please ask our receptionists.

Sometimes, when too much shrinkage occurs in the gums, supporting your dentures, the lower jaw can get out of its proper relationship with the upper jaw. This can lead to a number of problems. The facial muscles can virtually collapse, giving the appearance of premature ageing.

A carefully designed denture can often improve your appearance and the comfort of the denture.

Back to top