Dentist in Swords

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Dental Emergencies

Accidents happen, and knowing what to do when one occurs can mean the difference between saving and losing a tooth. Here are some common dental emergencies and how to deal with them. For all dental emergencies, it’s important to visit your dentist as soon as possible. At Swords Dental we always try to fit in appointments for patients who have urgent problems.

Question: What do I do if I knock out my tooth?
Answer: For a knocked-out adult tooth, keep it moist at all times. If you can, try placing the tooth back in the socket without touching the root. If that’s not possible, place it in between your cheek and gums or in milk. Then, get to your dentist’s office right away.

Q: What if I crack my tooth?
A: For a cracked tooth, immediately rinse the mouth with warm water to clean the area. See your dentist as soon as possible.

Q: If I bite my tongue or lip, how do I treat it?
A: If you bite your tongue or lip, clean the area gently with water and apply a cold compress. See your dentist or go to the emergency room as soon as possible.

Q: How do I treat a toothache?
A: For toothaches, rinse your mouth with warm water to clean it out. Gently use dental floss to remove any food caught between your teeth. Do not put aspirin on your aching tooth or gums; it may burn the gum tissue. If the pain persists, contact your dentist.

Q: What if I think my jaw is broken?
A: If you think your jaw is broken apply cold compresses to control the swelling. Go to your dentist or a hospital emergency department immediately.

Q: How do I remove an object that’s stuck in my mouth or teeth?
A: For objects stuck in the mouth, try to gently remove with floss but do not try to remove it with a sharp or pointed instrument. See your dentist or go to the emergency room as soon as possible.

Q: How can I avoid a dental emergency?
A: There are a number of simple precautions you can take to avoid accident and injury to the teeth:

Wear a mouthguard when participating in sports.
Avoid chewing ice, popcorn kernels and hard sweets, all of which can crack a tooth.
Use scissors, NEVER your teeth, to cut things.

If you have an emergency and need to see a dentist you can give Swords Dental a call on 01 8401001. We are open on Saturdays and have early morning and evening appointments:

Dental Specialists

There are various dental specialities. Dental specialists often deal with the more difficult cases within their own particular discipline. I’ll give a brief outline of some of the more common ones-

Orthodontists: Straighten teeth. Braces tend to be fixed in place but sometimes a removable brace can do the job for more straightforward problems. 12-16 is a good time to consider a referral but people can have orthodontics at any age.

Endodontists: Specialise in doing root canal treatment. This is a more complicated filling that is done to save a tooth when the nerve is dead or about to die. We would often refer a patient to an endodontist if the tooth looks to have a particularly difficult root or roots to fill.

Paedodontists: Specialise in dentistry for children. This can be very useful if there are any major problems at any early age.They can often save teeth that would otherwise be removed. Saving baby teeth helps to align the adult teeth as they erupt. They are also a great option for children who are very nervous about visiting the dentist.

Sedation: Dentistry can be performed under sedation for nervous patients. Dr Lyndsey McTavish can perform a large range of dental treatment under  nitous oxide or iv sedation at our practice.

Oral Surgeon: Often perform the most difficult extractions e.g complicated lower wisdom teeth. They are a good option if someone needs a lot of extractions. They also specialise in implant work . We have an Oral Surgeon, Eimear McHugh who works in our practice in Swords. She can also offer iv sedation as an option for difficult cases.

Periodontist: A dentist who specialises in the treatment of complicated gum treatment. They often work in conjunction with a dental hygienist who will perform a lot of the treatment as planned by the periodontist.

Oral Medicine: A speciality that deals with any medical conditions of the mouth. They often deal with neuralgia type pains which can be difficult to control.

Prosthodontist: Someone who replaces missing teeth. This is often done with dentures or implants (or dentures on implants!).

If you do need a referral to any of these people you can come to the practice for a check up and we’ll organise the rest:

Oral Cancer

How can I make sure that my mouth stays healthy?

Visit a dentist regularly even if you wear dentures. This is especially important if you smoke and drink alcohol. We will check your mouth for any areas of concern at each check up.

When brushing your teeth, look out for any changes in your mouth or neck. Early warning signs include ulcers that do not heal within three weeks, red or white patches in the mouth, or other unusual changes in the mouth or neck. If you have any areas that are swollen or ulcerated it is very important to attend a dentist and have them checked out.

When exposed to the sun, make sure to use the correct type of barrier cream on your lips.

Eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. A good diet, rich in vitamins A, C and E, helps the body to protect itself from most cancers.

Avoid the risk factors for mouth cancer. These include:
Smoking tobacco – cigarettes, roll-ups, cigars, pipes or cannabis.
Excessive alcohol consumption.
Using tobacco and alcohol together – this greatly increases your risk.
Excessive exposure to sunlight or radiation (for lip cancer).
Chewing tobacco, betelguid, gutkha and paan.
A diet lacking in fruit and vegetables.
Viral infections, e.g., human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV can be spread through oral sex.



This is a very easy thing to do yet we are all busy rushing around that we tend to miss the same surfaces all the time.

Top tip!


It takes a good 3 minutes to brush your teeth properly, it is important to do this at least twice a day, morning and night.
Some tips to help maintain a happy and healthy mouth:
1. Use a small head with soft to medium texture made of nylon , germs are small!.
2. Use a pea size amount of toothpaste.
3. Angle the toothbrush at approximately 45 degree and make contact with the tooth and gumline.
4. Gently using circular motions and massage the gums.
5. Place the brush over the biting surfaces of the teeth brush in an over and back motion.
6. Change your toothbrush at least every 3 months.
If you see bleeding it is a sign of gum disease.

Gingivitis is a word you might hear at your dentist this when the gums around the teeth become red, inflammed and swollen. Bad breath can occur.
This is curable. Bleeding is the first sign. Bleeding is not good so do not ignore it.

Another word you might hear is Periodontal disease, this is irreversible which means damage is permanent. The bone levels get damaged, treatment can only maintain the bone that is undamaged.

Generally there is no pain is associated with gum disease so it can sometime come as a shock to patients.

It is therefore so important to get regular checkups with your dentist and hygienist.
Paula Cavanagh Dental Hygienist at Swords Dental  Tel 8401001

Bottle Decay

Even though they are temporary, your child’s baby teeth are important. Tooth decay in infants and toddlers is often referred to as bottle decay. Children need strong, healthy teeth to chew their food, speak and have a nice smile. Their first teeth also help make sure their adult teeth come in the correct position. It’s important to start infants off with good oral care to help protect their teeth for the years to come.

What Causes Bottle Decay?

Bottle Decay most often occurs in the upper front teeth, but other teeth may also be affected.

There are many factors: one common cause is the frequent exposure of the baby’s teeth to drinks that contain sugar. Tooth decay can occur when the baby is put to bed with a bottle. Tooth decay is a disease that can begin with cavity-causing bacteria being passed from the parent to the infant. These bacteria are passed through saliva. When the parent puts an item such as the baby’s feeding spoon in her mouth the bacteria could be passed to the baby.

If your infant or toddler does not receive an adequate amount of Fluoride,  they may also have an increased risk for tooth decay.  The good news is that decay is preventable.

Preventing  Bottle Decay

  • Try not to share saliva with the baby .
  • When your child’s teeth come in, brush them gently with a child-size toothbrush and a smear of Fluoride toothpaste until the age of 3.
  • Brush the teeth with a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste from the ages of 3 to 6.
  • Supervise brushing until your child can be relied on to spit and not swallow toothpaste—usually not before he or she is 6 or 7.
  • Place only formula, milk or breast milk in bottles. Avoid filling the bottle with liquids such as sugar water, juice or soft drinks.
  • Infants should finish their bedtime bottles before going to bed.
  • If your child uses a soother, provide one that is clean—never dip it in something sweet!
  • Encourage your child to drink from a cup by their first birthday.
  • Encourage healthy eating habits.

When your child’s first teeth appear, consider bringing them for their first dental visit. Starting early is the key to a lifetime of good dental health.

Bad Breath

Bad Breath is a common condition that can cause much embarrassment. About 90% of the time the mouth is the source of this problem. The good news is that by taking a few simple steps, to improve oral health, it can often be resolved.

There are a number of possible risk factors that can contribute to bad breath.
Smoking: As well as inducing halitosis smoking can also stain the teeth, induce gum disease and is catastrophic for general health.
Dry Mouth: Saliva is important help clean the mouth and prevent bad breath. It can be caused as a side effect to many common medicines. It is important to clean the teeth before going to bed as salivary rates fall during the night.
Food: Certain foods such as garlic and onions can affect the breath.
Health Problems: Sometimes these can have an effect. Diabetes, , Sinus problems, Liver, Kidney or Gastric problems have all been shown to contribute to bad breath. If the more common causes have been excluded we often advise the parent to follow up with their GP to look into these areas.

It is important to start by improving the overall health of the mouth. This will include brushing twice a day (including the top part of the tongue) for two minutes with a fluoridated toothpaste and flossing on a daily basis. Regular trips to the dentist or Hygienist will help improve the health of the mouth. Dentures should be left out at night. Stop smoking: have a range of support material to help with this.
Mouthwashes that contain Chlorhexidine e.g Corsodyl should help but be careful about using them on a long-term basis as they can stain the teeth. CB 12 is a new mouthwash specifically aimed at helping with this proble.

Is Chocolate Bad for your Teeth?

The answer is maybe not as bad as you might think. Studies have suggested that eating chocolate on a daily basis over years can actually improve your overall brain function. The  The Maine-Syracuse Longitudinal Study  was conducted observing 968 participants over an 18-year period and the results indicated higher scores on various cognition tests in participants who consumed chocolate on a daily basis. Having said that the devil is in the detail…

Milk chocolate, such as Cadburys,  is probably one of the most popular and widely consumed types of chocolate. Unfortunately, it contains more sugar than dark chocolate. It is made from a combination of cocoa, powdered milk, and sugar. The breakdown is usually 20-30% real cocoa, with the balance consisting of sugar and powdered milk. The higher sugar content that is contained in milk chocolate can cause tooth decay more so than dark, raw, or organic chocolate.

Dark chocolate is by far the better choice when it comes to keeping your teeth healthy and cavity free. There are some studies that even suggest that it can actually inhibit cavity formation. Chocolate is made up of over 300 compounds and is a highly complex substance. Dark chocolate contains polyphenols. These chemicals can help fight the overgrowth of bacteria and other organisms in the mouth. They can neutralise organisms that cause bad breath and they can prevent some sugars form turning into acid, which can break down the enamel of your teeth and cause tooth decay and cavities.

Dark chocolate contains Flavonoids which have been shown to slow tooth decay. Dark chocolate also contains antioxidants. These are beneficial to overall health in many ways but when it comes to oral health, having higher levels in your saliva helps fight gum disease. It is made up of around 70% cocoa and only 30% powdered milk and sugar. This drastically reduces the negative effect that it could have on tooth enamel when compared to milk chocolate.

When we consume sugar, bacteria in the mouth break it down and produce acid which attacks the tooth enamel.  However, decay can be prevented by cutting down on your sugar intake, watching what types of foods you eat, both sweet and savory, and ensuring that you are brushing and flossing your teeth on a daily basis. It also helps to visit your dentist two times per year to identify oral problems early and remove plaque and tartar buildup.

As with everything in life remember that moderation is the key!

Pregnancy and the mouth.

Congratulations! I’d imagine, while pregnant, most mothers to be tend to fixate on the health of their babies. Its important to remember your own health too. Unfortunately, the changes in your hormone levels and immune system can leave you, and particularly your gums, open to problems. So I thought I’d go through some of these and suggest some tips to help:

Morning Sickness: If your struggling with regular morning sickness its likely that the enamel of your teeth is being worn down by acid and this may be causing sensitivity. Try to counteract the acidity by eating alkaline foods like cheese and drinking milk. Avoid brushing your teeth soon after vomiting as they will still be soft and this can make the problem worse. You can also try toothpastes such as Sensodyne pro-enamel to help.

Gum Problems: Most pregnant mothers will suffer from Pregnancy Gingivitis at some stage, especially the first trimester.This is indicated by red, inflamed and bleeding gums and may cause discomfort. Its important to maintain good oral hygiene by brushing and flossing well and attending the dentist or hygienist for a cleaning. Mouth washes such as Listerine can also help. Often to keep on top of these problems, you will need to spend more time on them than had been the case prior to your pregnancy.
Some studies have linked more extensive gum problems such as periodontal disease in the mother with premature and low birth weight babies, so keeping on top of your oral health will be of benefit for your baby too.

General Dentistry: It is safe to have dentistry done when your pregnant. We don’t tend to take x-rays but can do so with the help of a lead apron if necessary. We also tend to avoid prescribing antibiotics, if possible. Often more routine treatment, that isn’t urgent, can be postponed until after you’ve had your baby if you prefer.

Enjoy this exciting time!

Tax Relief On Dental Treatment

A lot of people are unaware that you are entitled to tax relief of 20% on advanced dental treatments that have been carried out in the last four years. The relief can be claimed regardless of whether its your treatments or someone else’s dental treatment that you have paid for. This is done through the med 2 system, we can talk you through this process when you attend the practice. At Swords Dental we can give you this form and help you with the relevant sections and provide any receipts needed. You can also download the form at:

A guide to claiming Health and Medical expenses:

The eligible treatments are :

Crowns. Restorations fabricated outside the mouth and are permanently cemented to existing tooth tissue. Income tax relief is allowable for expenditure on core preparation for crowns and temporary conditioning crown

Veneers/Etched Fillings. These are a type of crowns

Tip Replacings. This is regarded as a crown where a large part of the tooth needs to be be replaced and the replacement is made outside the mouth.

Post and Core Build-ups. These are inserts in the nerve canal of a tooth, to hold a crown. Income tax relief is allowable for post and core build-ups made from materials other than gold.

Inlays. An inlay is a smaller version of a crown. However, tax relief is only allowed if the inlay is fabricated outside the mouth. Income tax relief is allowable for inlays made from materials other than gold.

Endodontics – Root Canal Treatment.

This involves the filling of the nerve canal and not the filling of teeth.

Periodontal Treatment

The following treatments qualify for tax relief:

Root Planting, which is a treatment of periodontal (gum) disease
Currettage and Debridement, which are part of root planing
Gum Flaps, which is a gum treatment
Chrome Cobalt Splints, if used in connection with periodontal treatment
(if the splint contains teeth, relief is not allowable)
• Implants following treatments of periodontal (gum) disease which included bone grafting and bone augmentation.

Orthodontic Treatment.

This involves the provision of braces and similar treatments. Income tax relief is allowable for the cost of temporary implants in circumstances where they form part of the overall orthodontic treatment.

Surgical Extraction of Impacted Wisdom Teeth.Relief is allowable when undertaken in a hospital or by a dentist in a dental surgery.

Bridgework. Dental Treatment consisting of an enamel-retained bridge or a tooth-supported bridge is allowable.

You should make your claim at the end of the tax year, but you can actually claim relief on any eligible expenses dating back four years (including medical expenses, which require the Med 1 form). It is possible to choose whether to claim relief in the year when the expenses were incurred, or in the year that they were paid (if they happen to fall into two different years).You do not need to submit all your dental receipts to the Revenue, but you should hold onto them for a period of 6 years in case you are asked to prove or clarify any expenses. If you’re self-employed you can claim your relief when you file your annual tax return.

If you have any queries you via give use ring on 018401001

Water Fluoridation

In common with every other recognised national dental association across the world, the Irish Dental Association strongly supports the policy of fluoridation in Ireland as an essential element of oral health policy. The benefits of fluoridation as regards the oral health of the population, and most particularly those in deprived circumstances, are extremely well documented.

A useful summary of the history of water fluoridation in Ireland is contained in the attached address to the Seanad last Wednesday, October 1st 2014 by the Minister of State at the Department of Health, Ms Kathleen Lynch (her speech also addresses perceived risks as well as the established benefits of water fluoridation). The Seanad motion which enjoyed the support of the anti-fluoridation campaign was not carried and in fact the sponsors of the motion sought that it would not be put to a vote given the paltry support evident during the Seanad debate.

Recently, dental leaders, representing over one million dentists in 134 countries, reaffirmed their strong support for fluoridation as essential in promoting oral health.  The assembly of the annual meeting of the FDI, world dental federation, reaffirmed its strong support for fluoridation at its latest meeting which concluded in New Delhi, India in the last few weeks. The full FDI statement is attached.

The FDI statement recognises that more than 370 million people in over 27 countries receive the benefits of water fluoridation.

In recognition of the importance of promoting oral health through water fluoridation, the FDI World Dental Federation states that:

  • Over seventy years of research and recent systematic reviews have shown that water fluoridation is an effective public health measure for the prevention of dental decay in children and adults.
  • Water fluoridation is particularly appropriate for populations demonstrating moderate to high risk of dental decay.
  • Water fluoridation confers positive health savings and contributes to reducing disparities in the rates of dental decay in communities.
  • At the fluoride concentrations recommended for the prevention of dental decay, scientific research and reviews show that human general health is not adversely affected.

The policy of fluoridation is supported by all dental schools in Ireland, all the representative and training bodies for dentists, nurses and hygienists and indeed all of the officially recognised representative, training and education bodies for dentistry in Ireland.

A new statement in the name of the deans of Ireland’s three dental schools and the Irish Dental Association was published recently in the Irish Times.

Apart from all its obvious oral health benefits, the US health authorities have published an estimate that every $1 spent on fluoridation saves $38 dollars in costs.

The two latest major reviews commissioned by the public health authorities can be viewed here for the UKand New Zealand, both of which conclusively endorse fluoridation as a safe and effective policy, essential to better oral health, and which also dismiss many of the alarmist claims made by opponents of fluoridation who suggest links with medical conditions or diseases without any credible basis.

In fact, there have been fifteen major peer-reviews of fluoridation undertaken across the world by recognised academic authorities in the past twenty years. None of these major reviews has concluded that community water fluoridation poses a known risk to general health or has suggested halting water fluoridation. These, and other reviews which dealt solely with oral health, show a significant benefit to dental health and through this to general health. In fact, there is evidence to show that the biggest beneficiaries from fluoridation in terms of their oral health are those categorised as socio-economically deprived.

To address some claims being made by opponents of fluoridation, we refer you to the most recent (March 2014) report from Public Health England (PHE), the organisation whose mission is to “protect and improve the nation’s health and to address inequalities.”

Regarding the dental health benefits of fluoridation, the PHE report finds that:

  • 28% fewer five year olds have tooth decay in fluoridated areas than in non-fluoridated areas (when deprivation and ethnicity are factored in)
  • 21% fewer twelve year olds have tooth decay in fluoridated areas than in non-fluoridated areas (when deprivation and ethnicity are factored in)
  • In fluoridated areas, there are 48% fewer hospital admissions of children aged one to four for dental caries (mostly for extraction of decayed teeth under a general anaesthetic).

The PHE Report also found no evidence of a difference in the rate of hip fractures, in the rate of Down’s Syndrome or all types of cancer between fluoridated and non-fluoridated areas while the rates of kidney stones and bladder cancer were lower in fluoridated areas than in non-fluoridated areas.

Regrettably, an amount of scaremongering has been engaged in by opponents of fluoridation claiming an association between fluoridation and adverse medical outcomes, none of which have been supported by credible, peer-reviewed research. It is alarming that so many outlandish claims are still being propagated by anti-fluoridation campaigners in spite of the fact that all of these scares have been debunked by the independent Expert Body in its assessment of the report prepared by Mr Declan Waugh (see copy attached) and also in many other expert reviews, most recently in New Zealand where, in August 2014, the Royal Society of New Zealand review again addressed the most common scares cited by anti-fluoridation campaigners.

In recent times, public representatives have been circulated by anti-fluoridation campaigners with scare-mongering claims which have been dismissed repeatedly by independent expert panels. You should be aware that the Supreme Court here in Ireland, and most recently again in recent times the High Court in New Zealand, have consistently found that fluoride is not a medicine and fluoridation is not ‘mass medication’ as is alleged in a deliberately emotive piece of propaganda by some campaigners. You should also be very wary of false claims regarding claims that fluoride amounts to poison and claims of adverse health outcomes based on fluoridation levels which are multiples of the levels obtaining here in Ireland.

Furthermore water fluoridation breaches no legally binding human rights or EU directives. This is addressed in the Expert Body’s review of the Waugh Report, which details commentary from the EU in reply to petitions to anti-fluoride campaigners . The EB report states:

“It is helpful that the EU Commission has addressed such concerns in its replies to the petitions made by Irish and British anti-fluoridation campaigners (EU Petitions 0210/2007 and 0211/2007). The EU Commission clearly does not have any difficulty in law with the practice of water fluoridation. The Commission stated in 2007: “Taking into account that there is no evidence of an infringement of EU law in this case, the Commission can take no legal action”.

Also, claims you may receive from the group “Fluoride Free Towns” are just a rehash of anti-fluoridation arguments that have no credible legal or scientific basis whatsoever. Furthermore, to be awarded the accolade of being a “Fluoride Free Town”, all you need is six businesses that agree to install reverse osmosis water filters. These towns are, of course, still fluoridated.

The same campaigners have misrepresented the NRC report and in regard to the claims made in relation to the York Review, I must advise you that the York Review was itself reviewed three years later by the Medical Research Council (UK) who felt that it did give fluoridation a clean pass on health and effectiveness. The persons on the NRC report who spoke out had been appointed to that panel as well known anti-fluoridation campaigners.

You are also advised to beware anti-fluoridationists’ claims and inferences related to comments made by the Chairman of the National Research Council’s (NRC) comprehensive fluoride review, Dr John Doull. In fact, Dr Doull has confirmed in writing that “I do not believe there is any valid scientific reason for fearing adverse health conditions from the consumption of water fluoridated at the optimal level.”

Alarmist Claims

Dr Strangelove : “General Jack D. Ripper: Fluoridation is the most monstrously conceived and dangerous communist plot we have ever had to face.”

As mentioned, I attach for your information two major reviews commissioned by the public health authorities in the UK and New Zealand both of which conclusively endorse fluoridation as a safe and effective policy, essential to better oral health, and which also dismiss many of the alarmist claims made by opponents of fluoridation who suggest links with medical conditions or diseases without any credible basis.

Finally, I believe you need to consider an important warning in an academic study wherein the author, an Australian health academic, Mr Jason Armfield, warns as  follows:

“Water fluoridation is an important public health initiative that has been found to be safe and effective. Nonetheless, the implementation of water fluoridation is still regularly interrupted by a relatively small group of individuals who use misinformation and rhetoric to induce doubts in the minds of the public and government officials. It is important that public health officials are aware of these tactics so that they can better counter their negative effect.

Water fluoridation opponents employ multiple techniques to try and undermine the scientifically established effectiveness of water fluoridation. The materials they use are often based on Internet resources or published books that present a highly misleading picture of water fluoridation. These materials are used to sway public and political opinion to the detriment of public health. Despite an extensive body of literature, both studies and results within studies are often selectively reported, giving a biased portrayal of water fluoridation effectiveness. Positive findings are downplayed or trivialised and the population implications of these findings misinterpreted.

Ecological comparisons are sometimes used to support spurious conclusions. Opponents of water fluoridation frequently repeat that water fluoridation is associated with adverse health effects and studies are selectively picked from the extensive literature to convey only claimed adverse findings related to water fluoridation. Techniques such as “the big lie” and innuendo are used to associate water fluoridation with health and environmental disasters, without factual support. Half-truths are presented, fallacious statements reiterated, and attempts are made to bamboozle the public with a large list of claims and quotes often with little scientific basis. Ultimately, attempts are made to discredit and slander scientists and various health organisations that support water fluoridation.”

Fluoridation has been described as one of the greatest public health success stories of the century and we would ask that you would continue to supports its operation in Dublin and in Ireland and to continue to engage in evidence-based decision making in regard to this and all other health related matters.

We would ask: do you feel, as a public representative, that you can deny children a proven safe and effective means for reducing chronic dental disease levels and reducing the number of children attending hospitals for reasons of dental infection?

We would be happy to assist with any further queries arising. Tel 8401001